A Message from the Pastor
"Fear not! Do not be afraid!" The angel spoke these words to Zachariah, to Mary, to Joseph, and finally to a group of shepherds on a hillside near Bethlehem. On that first Christmas, the world was in desperate times. A census was being conducted in order to raise already high taxes. Murderous, paranoid Herod the Great was king of the Jews. It was winter on Bethlehem's hillsides -- and cold. Inside a cave in the town sat a poverty-stricken carpenter and his young wife -- far from home, chilled to the bone. She was in labor. Her child would be born in a stable, of all places. “Why is it like this?” she may have asked. And then she recalls an echo of the angel's words to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary...."
There are many who are fearful this Christmas time. More and more you glimpse a kind of bleak fear in people's eyes. Will I lose my house? My job? What will become of us if this recession deepens into a depression? How will I feed my family? They think that Christmas is about gifts under a tree and a spirit of good cheer, with Christmas dinner and family around the table. But as good as all that may be, it isn't nearly as good as the Real Christmas.
The Real Christmas message is this: God has sent a Savior for you. This Savior will free you from your sins and help you in this life -- will lift your burden and ease your fears. That's it! A Savior who is Christ the Lord -- God himself!
The world is gripped by fear. But fear's hold has been broken in those of us who believe the angel's words: "Fear not ... for a Savior is born to you -- Christ the Lord!"