I love this time of year. As we approach the celebration of the birth of Jesus, His Name is on our lips more than at other times of the year. Christmas music is played in shopping malls and in stores. Smiles seem to come easier, manners seem to be more apparent and generosity seems to be the order of the day. It is a time of year when people pull together to reach out to others less fortunate. Glade Valley has the Toy Shop each year and Peace in Christ participates in that effort to see that needy area families receive some Christmas gifts.  

It is a time of giving. God set the tone on that first Christmas Day when He gave His only Son as a gift to restore a right relationship with Him. The angels proclaimed the birth of the Savior to the shepherds that first Christmas night.  Luke 2:8-11 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." 

The shepherds may have been tending the sheep that would be used in the temple sacrifice in Jerusalem, just a few miles away. How appropriate that God would choose those employed, caring for the sheep that would be used as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins to announce the gift of the birth of His only begotten Son, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I love the words to O Holy Night, one of my all time favorite Christmas songs. 

 O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, It was the night of the dear Savior's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on you knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night divine, O night, O night divine. 

Truly He taught that we should love each other, His law is love, and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break, the slave shall be our brother, And in His name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us, praise His holy name.

This is a time of year when many of us grieve more deeply over lost relationships with loved ones as well as other losses as well. Be kind to those who are grieving and suffering from loss.  God desires that we take advantage of the relationship He has restored with us through His Son Jesus Christ.  Be aware of those around you and prayerfully consider how God would have you share the hope of a restored soul with them. Be kind to one another. Count your blessings and have a very Merry Christmas.

Pastor Dave