And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11
We’re almost afraid to listen to the news. Whether its source is from our local television station, newspaper or the Internet, it always seems to be the same — bad. Senseless violence and crime in our community, wild fires in California, troubles in the global economy— it never seems to end. And, when we do hear a bit of good news, we almost don’t know how to respond.
Imagine being those shepherds in the fields on the night of our Savior’s birth. One moment you’re watching your sheep in the middle of an ordinary night, your eyes heavy with sleep, and the next moment the skies explode with God’s glory and a supernatural being, an angel of the Lord, speaks to you in a way you never imagined. You can understand why they were terrified. You can understand why they were expecting the worst.
But just as quickly their fears fade away. This angel shares good news with them. A great joy will come to all people, even lowly shepherds. A Savior has been born for them in David’s city Bethlehem. This little child will be their righteousness. He will be their sacrifice for their sins upon a cross. He will shatter the bonds of death on Easter morning. And, he will do it for them because God is love.
God has good news for us, and he communicates it to us in a simple, profound way. At the right moment, at the right place, Mary gave birth to a son in Bethlehem. She wrapped him in baby clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. God became flesh. A Savior is born. Salvation made certain. Promises kept. No theological clutter or meaningless jargon, just God’s love for sinners — plain and simple.
This Christmas and beyond keep this news of great joy close to your heart. Let God communicate to you — in a simple way — the wonders of his love in the Christ Child. And let us respond to our God — in a simple way —with hearts rejoicing, voices praising, and lives eager to serve.
Rejoicing with you in God’s good news,
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:15-16
Thanksgiving – the Christian’s Lifestyle
Thanksgiving – a time to ponder our blessings and say thanks. Most of us celebrate this American holiday by feasting on the bounty of a harvest of food. In Christian circles, Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for us to worship and praise God from whom all blessings flow. Thanksgiving is really a lifestyle Christians experience every day of their lives.
The writer to the Hebrews describes the Christian’s thanksgiving lifestyle.
- Through Jesus – God loved us first and sent his Son to be the world’s Savior. Our thankfulness flows from our relationship with Jesus.
- continually – This is a lifestyle, part of our existence every day.
- offer to God a sacrifice of praise – We thank God with our words. We praise him with the things we say and how we say them.
- the fruit of lips that openly profess his name – A thanksgiving lifestyle expresses to others the hope we have in Christ.
- do not forget to do good and to share with others – We thank God with our actions. We serve him by serving people around us, by being kind and generous to others.
- with such sacrifices God is pleased – Since all of our shortcomings are forgiven in Jesus, God is pleased with thanksgiving lifestyles that flow from our faith in the Savior.
May God bless us with a lifestyle of thanksgiving!
Staff Minister Tom Banaszak
Ev. Lutheran Church & School
N171 W20131 Highland Rd.
Jackson, WI 53037
Church Phone: 262:677:9357
School Phone: 262:677:9196