We continue our Christmas celebration, and we also continue our read through the Gospel according to Luke. When Jesus’ parents took him to be presented at the temple in Jerusalem, as was the practice with firstborn sons, they were amazed to hear their son recognized as the salvation of Israel and a light to the nations.
For Christians, Jesus is the “reason for the season.” But non-Christians celebrate Christmas too. Jesus isn’t necessary to a Christmas celebration, and God isn’t necessary as an explanation for the world. Instead, God is more than necessary, a dimension deeper than surface reality. And the coming of Jesus was also more than necessary – a great gift, an act of grace.
The children of Redeemer Park Ridge share“The Animals’ Christmas Eve.” This promises to not only be cute and fun on the surface – but also to contain a profound truth underneath. That’s because, as human beings, we are designed and called to give voice to the rest of creation, to offer up praise and thanks to God, our Creator and Savior. And who more fitting to do this than the children among us, whom Jesus personally welcomed, and whose simple and childlike faith often outshines our own? Many thanks this morning to the kids and the adult leaders for their hard work in helping the rest of us (and the rest of creation) to worship!
We begin to read together the Gospel According to Luke, seeking to know Jesus better so we can follow him better – so we can be more fully his disciples. Here we get a sense of the context of Jesus’ birth and see how God prepared the way for the arrival of Jesus in our world.
We conclude our message series People Praising God, about giving praise and thanks to God in all kinds of circumstances. We welcome back Pastor Fred from his three-month sabbatical leave, who shared with us his thank you letter to God for all that he experienced while far from home.