GET IN TOUCH
Sunday, January 26, 12:30pm
Sandwiched between New Years day and the Super Bowl is a far more significant event: The Annual Our Savior Congregation Meeting… and speaking of sandwiches, we’re providing subways for everyone in attendance. Instead of a potluck meal, we’ll provide the sandwiches, so you can provide your thoughtful wisdom in electing council members and approving the 2020 budget. Let’s get the new year off to a sensational start with subway sandwiches and a firm resolve to follow Christ faithfully in the New Year.
This year’s Christmas letter takes the form of a narrative—a narrative that God is telling at Our Savior Lutheran Church to help us better understand the meaning of Christmas. It is about two weary travelers, long ago and far away.
From where they had come was not important.
And where they were going was of little consequence.
What mattered was now…survival… getting by just enough to see another day. The howling wind and the rock-strewn path offered no rest. They picked their way cautiously, each step in night’s darkness bringing them closer to a place where they might sleep in safety.
The man’s shoulders were stooped by untold burdens. His darkened face and furrowed brow revealed no secrets, save desperation and fatigue. His posture held a constant vigil against the starless sky. He was poised to face any eventuality, to stave off any danger. But he could not push much longer. This tortured journey had gone on well beyond the limits of human endurance.
The woman’s dark eyes darted from side to side, searching the shadows, discerning the sounds of night, at full attention. Her burden was not confined to her thoughts, but to the baby, whose time was near. How the journey had taken its toll! Her hands were chapped, her face red from relentless wind. Her feet were numb form the walking, from the cold.
She looked up, caught his eye, and smiled. He clasped her hand. It was time to stop.
From the pocket of stained cloak he took out a little bread, the remaining wine,
and a very small portion of cheese.
Their respite was short-lived. The man stood up, breathed deeply, helped his bride-to-be to her feet, and into the night they continued on to Bethlehem.
Their names were Mary and Joseph…. and this Christmas we travel with them to make a new start, to turn the page from a time of bigotry and hate to an era of hospitality and acceptance… to be born again with the Christ child. Traveling together toward a home in Bethlehem is a Christmas journey we still take today—and we take it with refugees around the world.
While refugees are now at an all-time high approaching 80 million, the United States will receive an unprecedented low 18,000 in 2020. The hard truth is that 37,000 people are forced to flee their homes every day due to conflict or persecution. Saying “Merry Christmas” is hollow unless we try to make more room for them in our inns. This week, we have ironically welcomed a new family of three—mother, father, and son—to live in our Bethlehem House. It is my prayer that the ancient Christmas story might become our story at Our Savior Lutheran Church in 2020.
On those terms, let me say “Merry Christmas” as we journey with Mary and Joseph, with the refugee—and with the Christ child!
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