Isaiah proclaimed, "For unto us a Child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." In December our calendar year is coming to a close, but the Church year begins with Advent. It is good to hear Isaiah proclaiming the One who truly is the Prince of Peace, and the One who will shoulder the rulership of all the world, Jesus, comes to us anew to be born ruler in our hearts, to be the Prince of our peace, to be Emmanuel, God who is with us. Rather than being born again in the manger, may Jesus be born anew in our hearts this Christmas.
Advent is the part of the church year that remembers the promises of God, and God's faithfulness to fulfill all that God has promised. As Paul writes to the Corinthians, "All the promises of God find their yes in Jesus." We move toward Christmas and the gift that makes the day a day to celebrate. The gift of Christ in Christmas is also the cornerstone, the point of measuring truth, the foundation of eternal life, and the blessings of God in this life and the life to come. Isaiah 28:16 and 1 Peter 2 both quote God saying, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame." God also says, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." You may have noticed in the news that the builders of our current culture and the nation of our day, are taking more and more offense at Christ, and Christ in Christmas specifically. But remember God is the one who sets this Cornerstone, and all who believe in Him will not be put to shame.
Emmanuel, God with us, the hope of the world, the gift of Christmas...may He be your Rock and your Fortress, your Hope and Peace. Remember the gift God gives you each day in Christ, who is our reason for the season. We have such a great gift in Christ who is with us. Jesus has promised to never leave us or forsake us. Our Redeemer also calls us members of His family, children of God. He is the one who makes us fellow heirs with Him of the treasures of God, which will not pass away, but "grow brighter and brighter" until the full day of His return.
What response does a great gift bring from you? This gift that God gives should not be opened carelessly, or tossed aside thoughtlessly. Take some time to open this gift, let the intention of the Giver move you! Let the significance and richness of it overwhelm you, and respond to the Giver according to the measure of the love shown. "We love, because He first loved us."
I pray you have a blessed Christmas that celebrates love, family, life, and most Christ who makes life now and forever possible.
Working with you for your joy and peace in Christ Pastor Knoll
400 N Sawyer St, Oshkosh, WI 54902