So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they told others the message they had been told about this child. (Luke 2:16-17 EHV)
Did you ever wonder what the shepherds thought about everything that happened to them that night when Jesus was born? Here they were minding their own business as they did every night when suddenly an angel appeared to them and announced the birth of the Messiah to them, and then a whole host of angels appeared and sang God’s praises. What an amazing sight—why would God choose lowly them, lowly shepherds as the first ones to hear about the Savior’s birth?
Nonetheless they had to go see him for themselves—and everything was just as the angel said: Jesus was wrapped in cloths and was lying in a manger. It is obvious that the shepherds were overjoyed that they were witnesses to the birth of the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world. They were so excited that they didn’t stick around long—after they saw him they went and told others about what they had seen and heard—including what the angel told them: that this baby was indeed the Messiah.
What a great example for us to follow! The shepherds didn’t hesitate to spread the good news of the Savior’s birth, they weren’t worried about what others might think of them, and they didn’t really care that they left their lives behind for the time being—they had the great news and they simply had to share it with others!
That should be our reaction as well. We have the best news of all—that Jesus Christ, our Savior, has saved us from eternal death by his perfect life, his innocent suffering and death, and his resurrection. That is why he came down from heaven to be born—he was born to save us. And since this is the best news of all time, we want to do everything we can to share this message with others.
We can do this by telling others we know—our friends, relatives, work associates, and neighbors about Christ. We can do this by inviting them to one of our worship services this Christmas. We have postcards available here at Church to help you do so (we’ll be sending these postcards out to our neighborhood next week). The Lord promises that our work in him is not in vain and that he will bless our efforts to share the gospel with the people that we know.
However, we can’t reach everyone by ourselves—we only know a limited amount of people, and our invitations to hear the gospel on Christmas Eve can only be extended to those in the Fox Valley. In that respect we send out others to do the work for us. This coming Sunday, as seen below, we have the privilege of having our Synod’s Friendly Counselor for South Asia here at St. John. He will tell us about in his sermon and Bible Study about the working being done in that part of the world. Our offerings go, in part, to support his work and others like him. This allows us to follow the example of the shepherds throughout the world as we tell others about the Savior’s birth. We hope and pray to see all of you on Sunday as we worship the coming Savior.
— Pastor Frey
Mid-Week Advent Services
Our Advent mid-week services will be on December 5, 12, 19 at 10:30 am and 7:00 pm. Plan to attend these mid-week services during Advent.
To help us focus this Advent season, the professors at MLC have written devotions for each day of December to help us see who Jesus really is. These devotions are titled, "Names of Jesus". May the Lord bless us as we eagerly await the coming of our Lord and Savior. To access the devotions click the link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1282i0pasalebu2/Advent%20Devotions-2018.pdf?dl=0
Guest Preacher/Bible Study
Sunday, December 9 we will have a guest preacher and Bible Study leader. The Synod’s Friendly Counselor for South Asia will lead us through his sermon and in his Bible Class to see the work being done in this part of the world. All are encouraged to join us for both Worship and Bible Study. We will be collecting a special offering for the work in these countries on both December 2nd and 9th.
Children's Christmas Service
The Children’s Christmas service will be on Sunday, December 16 at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. All the children (3K-8th grade) from St. John can participate. The practices will be on Saturdays, December 1, 8, and 15 from 8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m. Our regular worship services will be held at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 16 and at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 17.
Christmas For Kids
Our Christmas for Kids event will be held after the second children’s Christmas practice on Saturday,
December 8. All children and families are invited to this event from9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m. The true meaning of Christmas will be taught, snacks will be served, and cookies will be decorated. If you are willing to help, please sign-up in the narthex. If you would like to register your child(ren), you may do so by clicking on this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeKV74_TPcQ11jskIAaPwR4ZlnWoJmvBTK1Jxk81y8atyqCFw/viewform?usp=sf_link
We will be caroling to shut-ins on Saturday, December 8. The Pioneers will go caroling with the congregation. We will meet at church at 1:00 p.m. Please sign up in the entryway. Please note that instead of having a meal after caroling, we will have a lunch before we go caroling. The meal will be at about 12:00 p.m. at church.
We will be decorating the church for Christmas on Saturday, December 8 at 9:30 a.m. All are welcome.