Pastor's Letter January 2021
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Now shepherds were in that region living outdoors and keeping watch by night over their flocks. And the angel of the LORD came upon them and the glory of the LORD shone around them, and they feared a great fear. And the angel said to them, "Stop being afraid, for behold I am proclaiming good news to you of great joy which is for all the people, that today a Savior was born for you in the city of David, who is Christ the LORD. And this will be a sign for you, you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." (Luke 2:8-12)
Why was this such good news of great joy for the shepherds and all the people? Why is the birth of a Savior, who is Christ the LORD good new for you? Because the birth of Christ Jesus was long awaited; because your redemption has drawn near; because God has indelibly united Himself to our humanity; because the Light has come for all who are in darkness; because the reign of sin, death, and the devil are at an end and the reign of He who is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, is established and of His reign there shall be no end; because His reign brings the peace, justice, and righteousness that all humanity has been longing for, seeking, and striving after but never able to attain.
Good news of great joy indeed for the One who was wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger at His birth has redeemed you and all creation! The swaddling cloths and the manger where the infant Jesus was laid were not just signs to the shepherds but are indeed signs of the way the Savior Christ the LORD has redeemed you. The wood of the manger where baby Jesus was laid prefigured Christ's cross. The swaddling cloths which were wrapped around the infant Christ’s body prefigured Jesus' burial cloths in death. Through the suffering and death of the Savior born in the city David, who is Christ the LORD, peace between God and man was made and all creation is redeemed from sin, death, and the devil!
This means of course that you, too, have been redeemed by the Savior, Christ the LORD. Your transgressions have been paid for by the Babe who was born in Bethlehem. Your sin, your despising of God’s Word, your misuse of God’s holy name, your rejection of God’s way for your own way, your failure to love God above all things and to love your neighbors as yourself, has been atoned for by the One who was conceived by the Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate was crucified, died, buried, and the third day rose again that you might have the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting in the holy Christian Church. For you, God became flesh. For you, the Savior was born in the city of David! This is good news of great joy for you. Amen.