|Messiah Lutheran Church||
6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634
When the Messiah was born, it was an especially dark time for God's people.
Not only were they being oppressed by the Romans, their own religious leaders who were supposed to encourage them with the hope of the Messiah were corrupt.
Correspondingly, the very temple system that was supposed to point them to the One who would offer the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world had been turned into a "den of thieves" (ref. Matthew 21:13).
But it was during those dark days that the Light of the World came as a helpless baby, horn to the virgin Mary in the town of Bethlehem, the city of David.
As Galatians 4:4 puts it, "But when the right time came, God sent His Son ... "
And just as Jesus came at such a dark time, so He continues to delight in showing up in the darkest moments and times of our lives, proving to ourselves and others, that He is indeed the true light of the world!
As we light the candles during our Christmas Eve Services this year and sing "Silent Night" may it remind you to look to the Light of Jesus in the dark world that we live in.
When you are lonely and scared, and do not know what to do:
Look to the One who promises to never leave you or forsake you (ref. Hebrews 18:5), and will guide you in paths of righteousness for His name's sake (ref. Psalm 28:3).
When you feel like all hope is lost:
Look to the One who can do the impossible (ref. Matthew 19:26).
When you're overwhelmed by your own sin and shortcomings:
Look to the one who made it possible to be forgiven of your sins through His perfect atoning work on the cross (ref. Romans 3:25).
If you happen to be experiencing an extremely dark time in your life right now:
Don't lose hope! For your hope is alive as the Risen Savior, "for an inheritance that isn't destroyed or defiled and never fades away, as it is kept for you in heaven" (ref. 1 Peter 1:3-4).
May this Christmas serve to remind you that the darkest hour is right before the dawn:
"Weeping may last for a night, but in the morning there's happy shouting!" (Psalm 30:5).
When you are at your weakest, Christ is at His strongest! (ref. 2 Corinthians 12:10)
And when you feel the deepest sorrow over your sins and failures, through the hearing of the Gospel message the joy of your salvation can be restored even greater than ever before! (ref. Psalm 51:12)
The first words God spoke in the creation story were, "Let there be light!" (Genesis 1:3)
And so God wants to re-create your life story especially when it seems dark and desolate -without form and meaning, through the Light of Jesus Christ:
"So if anyone is in Christ, he is a new being. The old things have passed away. They have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
As you look forward to a New Year, and the days begin to grow brighter and brighter, so may the light of Jesus be allowed to shine more and more in your life in 2016 and never grow dim throughout the rest of your earthly sojourn.
As more and more you make room for Him in your heart and in your life.
And consequently, may the light of Jesus permeate every area of your llife, your home, your school, your work place, and everywhere you go.
For where light exists, there can be found no darkness.
Repent of any sin that prevents Jesus from fully entering in to your life, receive the forgiveness He accomplished for you through His atoning death on the cross, and cry out the same words God spoke at creation:
"Let there be light!" So that Jesus may enter into your life and chase all the darkness away!
May the members and friends of Messiah be living letters of the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah when he says:
"Those who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined!" (9:2).
In His Light!
God sent an angel to speak these same words to Zachariah, to Mary, to Joseph, and finally to a group of shepherds on a hillside near Bethlehem.
For not only were they living in fearful times, they had their own personal fears, as well.
Zechariah and his wife Sarah, in spite of their old age, were about to become the parents of the forerunner of the Messiah. Mary was to become the mother of the Messiah as a teen-agel', even though she was a virgin.
Joseph, as Mary's husband, was to take on the role of being the step-father of the Messiah, And in the case of the shepherds, you'd be afraid too if an angel suddenly appeared to you at your workplace!
Similarly, we find ourselves living in fearful times, as well as facing our own personal fears. But the Good News is that God sent a Savior for you to save you from your sins and to help you to overcome all your fears.
This Advent/Christmas Season may you heed the same message spoken by God's angelic messenger: Don't be Afraid! For today there was born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!
November 29th, at 9:30 a.m. First Sunday in Advent With Holy Communion & Message
December 2nd, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Midweek #1, Message: "Don't be Afraid: Your Prayers Have Been Heard!" (Luke 1:13)
December 6th, at 9:30 a.m. Second Sunday in Advent With Holy Communion & Message
December 9th, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Midweek #2, Message: "Don't be Afraid: Nothing is Impossible with God!" (Luke 1:37)
December 13th, at 9:30 a.m. Third Sunday in Advent Advent Lessons and Carols
December 16th, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Midweek #3, Message: "Don't be Afraid: God is with you!" (Matthew 1::23)
December 20th, at 9:30 a.m. Fourth Sunday in Advent Children's Sunday School Christmas Program
December 24th, Thursday at 7 p.m., 11 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight. Services with Holy Communion
Message: "Don't be Afraid: I Have Good News For You!"(Luke 2:10).
December 25th, Friday at 9:30 a.m. Christmas Day with Holy Communion, Message "Don't be Afraid: The Savior is Born!" (Luke 2:11)
December 27th, 9:30 a.m. First Sunday after Christmas Christmas Lessons and Carols
May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child.
Almighty God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit bless you now and forever. Amen.
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you and your family!
Pastor Wendt and MiRan
Copyright © 2015 Messiah Lutheran Church All Rights Reserved