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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Redeeming Christmas

For the last few years when Advent has come around many people from our church have gathered in each other's homes to study God's Word and contemplate the coming of Christ. Through these studies, the Lord has strengthened our relationships and given us direction in ways we can serve. One group even teamed up to sponsor a child through Compassion International! I am praying that we see similar fruit from the Spirit this year as we gather to Redeem Christmas.

Redemption is a big Bible theme. Redemption means to buy something back or to rescue someone from slavery. We see this happening in the story of the Exodus, where God rescues His people Israel from the evil Egyptian pharaoh. In our own lives, we know that we have been saved from the slavery to sin by Christ who has purchased us with His own blood on the cross. No longer slaves to sin and the condemnations of God's law, we have been freed to be the children of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We are redeemed!

It seems to me that Christmas needs some redeeming. The great message of God putting on flesh and being born as a humble child for all of humanity has been co-opted by the culture and it has become, in the infamous words of Peanuts' own Lucy van Pelt, "a big commercial racket." Christmas is now bound by commercialism. Worst of all, we find ourselves being sucked into the "racket" when we are unable to truly worship the Christ child and rest in the peace and freedom He has secured for us sinners. We find ourselves bound to the pressures of the season and overwhelmed with guilt when we can't come up with the perfect Christmas. Christmas needs to be redeemed! We too need to be freed from the pressures and stresses of the season so that we can truly rejoice in God's Messiah!

So, this year's Advent groups will be discussing how we can find rest and joy in the redemption that is ours through the Child born in Bethlehem. Building on some of the themes we learned from the Advent Conspiracy two years ago, and focusing on the gifts God gives to us in Christ, we will find the true joy of Christmas and rest in the freedom and security that is ours in the gospel. Please consider joining one of our Advent Groups this year! The groups will start meeting the week of December 4th. Please contact Pastor Bob with any questions.

Pastor Bob

Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email