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A note from Pastor Unke

The Comfort of Christmas


“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”                Isaiah 40:1-2

She presses her lips against the warm head, covered by fine strands of silky hair.   The loving eyes of the young mother send showers of affection upon her helpless child.  Bundled in the cocoon of the hospital blanket, the restless newborn boy is experiencing things for the first time…bright light, shivering cold, and hunger.  For now, Mom has the solutions.  She holds the child securely and whispers, “Ssshhh…”
The child has so much to learn, and so much to experience.  Outside that quiet room is the wide, wild world.  That outside world is filled with selfish ambition and anguished frustration.  There are people out in that world who are willing to lie, cheat, steal, hurt others, etc. just to get what they want.  Out there is disease and disaster; poverty and pain; danger and death.  But in here, in the loving arms of the only person that he knows, the infant is soothed by the simple security of her voice.  “Ssshhh…”
The child, however, must eventually leave his mother’s secure arms.  He will head off to school and out into that hostile world.  He will always love his mother, but her quiet whisper won’t be enough comfort for him anymore as he faces the daily attacks of the “real” world.  To find comfort in the storms of hostility, worry, guilt, and despair, he will need much more than just his mother’s gentle voice.
Mom knew from the beginning that that day would come…the day when her little bundle of joy would need more security and strength than she could provide.  So, as soon as possible after his birth day, she and her husband brought their newborn child to the house of God.  She supported his head above the font while the pastor applied the miraculous water and word.  She knelt by her growing child’s bed each evening and pointed to the pictures of ancient Bible heroes who were comforted by the hope of the Savior.  They sang simple Sunday school songs together.  Mom told him every day that Jesus is ALWAYS the answer to EVERYTHING.  She joyfully snapped pictures on his confirmation day and shed a grateful tear as she glanced up at him while they communed side by side.  What she couldn’t do for her “little guy”, she knew the Lord could.  She was convinced that nothing in this world would be able to separate her baby from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.  She cherished the comfort of knowing that he cherished the comfort of Jesus.
Moms and Dads, you know that parental longing.  We’d love to chaperone and manage our children through every phase of life…to comfort them and protect them.  But we can’t.  That’s not our role.  Our privilege is to receive precious infant gifts from God with gratitude and then to lead them to the comfort of their heavenly Father.  Our children are God’s children.  His Son is the Truth that we all need.  Remember, our God loves our children even more than we do! 
Do want proof of God’s comforting and forgiving love for us and for our children?  Listen carefully this December!  If you can get past the bell ringing and tune out the reindeer songs, you will hear the story of the Silent Night when God came to comfort a lost world.  As you quietly look into that Judean stable, you will see the young mother with her lips pressed against the warm newborn’s head, covered by fine strands of silky hair.  “Ssshhh…” she says.  But who’s comforting whom in that picture?  The eternal God, wrapped in strips of cloth, has arrived to deliver a simple message of pure comfort to his people. 
Instead of us receiving what our sins deserve, God’s Christmas gift to us is the Holy Child of Bethlehem--our Savior.  He came to make a message of eternal, unshakable comfort possible.  Based on his victory for us, he tells us about peace and security.  He warns us about those who will attack us and gives us the strength to overcome those attacks.  He reminds that true treasure can be found only in the next world and tells us to stand firm while this one winds down to its end.  He shows us pictures of our home with him in eternity and whispers, “Just wait!”  That little baby of Christmas is God’s gift of love and our greatest comfort.
Do your Christmas traditions focus on that precious child and the comfort he brings?  If they don’t…change them.  Christmas isn’t primarily about exchanging possessions or escaping routine.  It’s about our Father’s infinite love for us and the Gift that came to us from him.  A Father’s tender message of forgiveness.  Comfort!      
 Let’s gather at the manger this Christmas--
     Pastor Unke   

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