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“Then an angel of the Lord stood before the shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:  to you is born this day in the city of David a savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Dear Friends in Christ,

Blessings in the Advent and Christmas season.

It may be that we all need an angel to appear before us and tell us not to be afraid.  Jokes abound that claim 2020 as the year of bad news and even, more bad news.  When something goes wrong, we are heard to say, ‘that’s right, it is 2020 after all.’  We might want an angel to reassure us.  But then, isn’t that what the angel does – even down through the centuries.
Good news of great joy announces the coming of God in Immanuel, Jesus, God with us.  Jesus birth did not wait for the good days or the struggles of living to be smooth.  Jesus birth happened in the middle of the messy, the work day and work night, within family life, into the real, not the fairytale.  The good news hasn’t gone away.

It might be we need the trumpets and angels and heavenly host to remind us not to be afraid when there is so much to fear. I will not tell you not to be afraid.  I will tell you, fear of Covid19 and the job losses and family stresses, are valid.  What we do not need to fear is that God has left us.  Jesus was born as the amazing truth that God is willing to always dwell with us.  Dwelling with us in life and in death.  Dwelling with us right now.  The shepherds did not need to fear the announcement from God.  This was good news.  The announcement of the angels was of joy for them even as they likely expected warning.

This Christmas will, for most of us, not have the traditions we have come to expect and enjoy.  We will be looking for good news in different gatherings, most from a distance.  We will need to be gentle with ourselves as we grieve for what cannot be.  While we grieve, I ask God to center us in the good news of it all – that Jesus was born.  Born for times like this.  Born so that we can have hope and joy that finds its source in good news.  This Advent as we wait for a future free of a virus, this Christmas as we shelter for the sake of that future, may we know in the depths of our hearts the good news of great joy that is ours.

A savior was born.  A savior lives.  Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us.

God’s peace and the joy of God’s son, Jesus Christ, be with you all.

Blessed Advent,
Merry Christmas,
Pastor Linda Gunderson †

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