Dear God

Jason's Article Dear God December 2013

Dear God,

I am one of many who are delighted it’s the month of December. We’ve come to associate this month with some of the most cherished traditions of the year. We cook special foods, we send each other cards that say “Seasons Greetings” with our names scribbled on the bottom. We have grown accustomed to putting trees up in our living rooms adorning them with lights. We spend a great deal of time shopping and purchasing gifts for each other. All these traditions and a whole lot of others are done in celebration of your son’s birth.

Music plays a special role in December. There are certain songs we play and sing just this time of year. Some of the songs are about your son Jesus and how glad we are that he was born, but many of them have nothing to do with Jesus. Many songs are just about how gosh-darn glad we are that it is Christmas time.

Be assured that there is a lingering concern about losing the essence of Christmas. It is common to lament how Christmas has changed and that the reason for the season, namely the baby Jesus, gets lost in all the hubbub. Most everyone thinks that’s the case, but there is little consensus on how exactly we could or should simplify this time of year. This too is evidence of how much we love this time of year. We can’t stop the fervor. I too am concerned that the fervor is rooted more in the trappings of the season rather than for your son, Jesus.

We at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church seek to remedy that risk through observing the ancient season of Advent. We will emphasize the spiritual practices of anticipation, watchfulness and hopefulness. We will again have an Advent candle that we will light each of the 4 weeks of Advent, a reflection of our anticipation of Christmas.

Thank-you for the Gospel of Matthew. We will be focusing on his account of Jesus’ birth this month. I love how his Gospel starts with a family tree, tracing Jesus’ earthly lineage to King David and all the way back to Genesis. As a father, I appreciate the special place Joseph takes in Matthew’s Christmas story. We will consider John the Baptist’s cry to “prepare the way of the Lord”.

Yet for all that Matthew wrote, I find his emphasis on “Immanuel” or “God with us” to be most important of all. We can get frustrated with the events going on around us. It seems at times as if things are spinning out of control. Scripture’s assurance that Jesus is Immanuel, that we are not alone, but that you are with us, is especially comforting in these uncertain times. Perhaps this is part of why we like Christmas so much – that we feel closer to you knowing that one night many, many years ago you were born in Israel, a place loaded with history, and you joined in that history, our history, becoming one of us. In remembering this blessed event, our hearts find assurance that you love us and will always be with us.

May your Spirit guide us this season,
Pastor Jason Talsness

Posted December 2, 2013 by Amazing Grace Lutheran Church | Pastors Corner | Permalink |