January 2020

Post date: Dec 26, 2019 8:52:57 PM

Happy New Year Dear People of God!

2020: It feels strange to write the year 2020. I remember back in the year 2000, how odd it felt to write that date at the dawn of a new millennium. And now it feels strange, especially when I write this in December, to write the year 2020.

But one thing we can say for sure is that our God is with us in all times and in all places. Immanuel, “God with us”, dared to be born as a helpless human baby. Our God chooses to forgive all human sin through the humiliating weakness of the cross of Jesus. And our God chooses to give us new and everlasting life through the triumph of Jesus’ resurrection over death. The Incarnation of Jesus, his enfleshment, is completed in his life, death, resurrection and in his ongoing presence in our lives through the baptismal gift of the Holy Spirit.

For the secular world, Christmas ended on Dec 25th, except for the returned gifts of course and after Christmas sales. But Christians celebrate Jesus’ birthday, the miracle of God becoming human for us, for a full 12 days (just like the song says). On January 6th the season of Epiphany, which means revelation or manifestation, begins with the visitation of the wise men to Jesus. But even then we are thinking about offering our gifts to Jesus and worshipping him.

A little choir anthem we used to sing at First Lutheran in Baker City, Oregon kept running through my head. It’s based on a poem

written by the tremendous black writer, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader Howard Thurman and is entitled, “The work of Christmas”

When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, to heal the


To feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among all, to make music in the heart.

May the life changing good news of Jesus, Immanuel, give you peace, hope, joy and love in 2020. And may the Holy Spirit work through us all to carry on the work of Christmas.

Pastor Dennis