Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Dec. 24, 2001

An old story retold yearly that is ever new

By Rev. Leland D. Bendix
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11)

This is only one small part of the Christmas story recorded for us in one of the most famous passages of scripture that has been heard around the world in many languages.

The account of the Savior's birth in the gospel of Luke has been written, spoken, read out loud on radio and TV around the globe, and is used in plays as well as comic strips like "Peanuts."

It is an old story that is ever new. It calls us into the ever present reality of God among us, our Immanuel, God in the flesh.

The angelic messengers were sent to one of the lower classes of working people, shepherds, who were keeping watch over their flocks by night. They were the first to hear the news, outside of the parents of Jesus, that a Savior had been born and He was Christ, the Lord.

The joy was overwhelming as they beheld the promise fulfilled in the Babe, who was born in a stable and had a manger for His bed.

The God of heaven and earth humbled Himself and was born of the Virgin Mary, so that as a man he could live under the law and keep it for us, so that we, through faith in Him, could have life everlasting.

The old story of Christ's birth is the greatest gift of love ever given, that becomes ever new to those who hear and believe. Christ came as a gift of God to pay the price of His life for our sins, so that we, through faith in Him, would stand guiltless before the Father in heaven.

In love He shed His blood on the cross and appeased the righteous anger of God the Father because of our sin. The reminder every year as we celebrate His birth brings new joy to our hearts and peace to our lives and a renewed hope of the promises made.

We who believe will live in a new heaven and earth that He has prepared for us, in which there will no longer be any more pain or sorrow, but rather, pure joy and everlasting peace.

May this joy and peace be yours now and forever. A blessed Christmas and a happy New Year to all of you. God bless.

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