Merry Christmas, Saints of Advent

Dear Saints of Advent:

Shepherds stood in awe as the angels praised God. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men.” Often omitted are the words, “on whom His favor rests.”

The favor of God is His grace. How privileged we are to be recipients of God’s undeserved kindness! Those poor people in Syria¬—death everywhere, bombs falling from the sky upon both the good and the evil, people starving, children writhing in pain from poisonous gas. What would we feel like if we lived there and peacekeepers, somehow and by some miracle, broke through and brought an end to the conflict? “The war is over!” we would shout.

That would be nothing by comparison to what happened on that starry night. The birth of Christ meant that God had broken into our world. Everyday and everywhere, people are dying, starving for hope, spiritually weak;  unable to defeat the diabolical forces of evil. And there He was, the Redeemer, who came to bring peace. Wrapped in a manager, lying in a stall for animals, He brought true and lasting peace to a dying and war-torn world. The promised Savior of the world had scaled the walls, broken down all barriers. And he brought with Him eternal peace.

That is why I am so grateful to be among you as your shepherd. Just as the shepherds were privileged to be present at the manger that Bethlehem night, so also I have been privileged to be with you at the manger of today, at the baptismal font, where men, women and children are born again to be children of God. Just as the angels experienced joy at the appearance of the Son of God, my joy rises each and every Sunday as our Savior appears in the Lord’s Supper, giving to us His body and blood.

Thank you, Advent for all that you have been throughout this past year; for your faithfulness, support, prayers and gracious love. Thank you for being Christ to me and for accepting Christ through me.

So along with my dear wife, Solveig, and all the Fiene family, I pray that you will have a most blessed Christmas. May God’s joy enter your minds and hearts as you praise God for the appearance of Christ, and as His favor descends upon you.

In His Name,

Pastor Fiene