Geneva United Methodist Church
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Pastoral Message

Christmas is such an amazing and joyous time of the year. It is the
season when we celebrate the 
incarnation of Christ, God taking on
a human 
body in order to be with us and to live in the world. Have
you ever thought about what that 
really means? Our God, who is
unlimited and 
eternal, took on our limited, mortal, human form in
order to help us understand and relate to God, 
to give us a human
model we could use to 
emulate his actions and love, and finally, to
provide a sacrifice worthy of God to atone for all of our sins once
and 
for all. Could there be a more remarkable gift for us from God,
except maybe for the original gift of creation and life?
 
Much of this marvelous story is lost in all of the traditions and
frenetic activity of the Christmas Season. Being with family,
celebrating life and love, and renewing or forming new friendships
are all wonderful ways to demonstrate what Christ came to teach us.
But we must also always keep in mind the true “reason for the
season.” In the northern hemisphere, December is one of the darkest
months of the year – when the days are the shortest and the nights are
the longest. In ancient pagan times, it was a time of fear and gloom
for many. This makes the coming of the light of Christ in December
very near to the shortest day of the year even more miraculous and
astonishing, and certainly worthy of great joy and celebration. All of
the food and cookies, the cards from friends and family near and far,
and gifts from loved ones – all of these traditions make the season
special for us. We just need to make sure Christ is part of the story,
and part of the song, and part of the celebration, and, of course, part
of our family.
 
Christmas was originally known in England as “Christmastide,”
which is an abbreviation of “Christ Mass Time.” The whole season
back then revolved around the great Catholic mass or service on the
day of Christ’s birth. And Christmastide lasted twelve days,
beginning with Christmas day and ending on Epiphany, the day when
the three magi or wise men arrived from the East to bring news of a
new king whose birth was foretold in the stars some gifts worthy of
royalty: gold – the valuable metal from which royal crowns were
made; frankincense – a precious spice used for worship by the
Jewish priests in the Temple in Jerusalem; and myrrh – a rare and
costly tree resin used for embalming which pointed toward Jesus’
death even when he was just a baby.
 
I wish you all a Very Merry and Joyous Advent and Christmas this
year! May it be filled to overflowing with the light and love of Christ!

Pastor Randy