Our Christmas observance this season will be somewhat different from previous years. There will be three mid-week Advent servivces along with the traditional Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations. However, due to the presence of the Corona virus and the rising numbrer of infactions in our area our services will be limited to one humdred persons. Social distancing and sanitation protocols remain in place. You are strongly encouraged to wear a mask; protecting yourself and protecting others - shapes behavior. We will ask that you register through our parish web site to attend any of our services so that we can have an accurate accounting of who was in our buidling. This is necessary so that should someone test positive we can conduct responsible contact tracing.
We have every intention to live-stream our servicves through our parish facebook page to accommodate our membership and those who desire to join us virtually. Sunday services will continue to be broadcast live on radio station WZBD on 72.7 fm.
Throughout the course of this pandemic our guiding principle continues, “We are given to serve both faithfully and responsibly in loving service and care for souls and the health and safety of our members and our neighbors in the world.” Courtesy and civility need to be considered as we navigate this pandemic together.
Our mid-week Advent services will focus on critical passages from Isaiah’s prophecy. We will conduct a family oriented Christmas Eve Service. Our two eight grade confirmands Ashlyn Black and Izak Bobay will be our narrators for this year’s Christmas Eve Servivce – “Symbols of the Nativity.” On Christmas morning we will conduct a Service of lessons and carols with Holy Communion being celebrated.
The shepherds who watched their flocks by night, they weren’t the most reputable of fellows.
Those given the night shift weren’t the landowners or primary caretakers of the animals. They were hired hands, given the menial task of simply making sure the sheep survived through the night until the owners returned.
One didn’t aspire in life to become a night-shepherd. They ended up with that job. Uneducated or underprivileged, it was the best work available. Or their previous work experience and reputation about town left them with little other options.
Yet, these were the ones chosen for the honor of being the first to hear and repeat the Christmas message.
But the Scriptures say that when the shepherds “made known abroad” everything they had seen that holy night, that “all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”
What you see here is the power of God’s Spirit at work, through the Word, regardless of who speaks it. That same grace rests bountifully upon you. You have been blessed to meet the Christ-child just as they have, and by faith, you have the same forgiveness, the same divine love and care; the same honor to go and tell the good news of a Savior born to save.
Don’t let your reputation, don’t let your station in life, hold you back either.
Jesus didn’t need to do anything He did for your salvation. He didn’t need to leave heaven. He didn’t need to put aside His divine majesty to take a humble form. He didn’t need to bleed, suffer and died the cross.
But out of His great love for you, He did it all anyway. He chose to. He submitted Himself to the law so that no man could doubt that what He did was for them.
He was in your place and did all things perfectly well so that you can know what kind of righteousness you now have before God. Yes, Jesus takes your sins away, but in return, He gives you something mind-boggling in return, a blessedness and innocence as if you never did anything wrong.
What an exchange! What a trade! What is yours became His so that what is His is now yours! That’s what the name of Jesus means, “He who saves.”