“The Big Picture”

“Today in the town of David, a Savior was been born to you.He is Christ the Lord.”(Luke 2:11)

There is an interesting story about blind men who were asked to describe an elephant.Each man was positioned at a different place on the animal.It is not surprising to hear some of their conclusions.One man said an elephant was a long, thin animal that twisted and coiled.He was holding the trunk.Another man said the elephant was a massive animal that stood strong and straight.He was embracing a leg.Still another said the elephant was a great winged creature.He was holding an ear.The last man said the elephant was no animal at all.It was cold and smooth and without any life.He was running his hand along the tusk. Although all the observations were correct, they were also incomplete. Each had described a specific part of an elephant, but none were able to come up with the “big picture.”

Let’s use this approach with Christmas. If I asked different people to observe what goes on at Christmas time and then asked them to tell me what they thought Christmas is all about, what answers might people give? Some might see Christmas as a time to gather with family. Others might see Christmas as the time to buy and give gifts. Others might see Christmas as a time to help people who are less fortunate than we are. While others might see this time of the year as a time to decorate their homes with trees, lights and many other beautiful things. But as noble as these things might be, these views of Christmas miss the “big picture”, don’t they? While it is great to give gifts, gather with your families, decorate your homes, or help those in need, the true meaning of Christmas is lost if that is our main focus.

To help us see the “big picture” of Christmas all we need to do is look at the words that the angels spoke about the baby born in Bethlehem, “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.” The main thing to focus on this Christmas and every Christmas is the fact that God sent his one and only Son who was going to be our Savior. Christmas is first and foremost about our Savior being born into this world to save all people from their sins. Christmas is a time of joy and celebration, because God showered his love on us in the form of the Christ child who is our Savior from sin. Anything else that we do at Christmas time that distracts us or clouds our view of this “big picture” of Christmas is not beneficial to our faith or salvation.

This Christmas season as we hustle and bustle to buy the perfect gift or decorate our homes in just the right way. This season as we try and bake the most delicious Christmas meals and have wonderful times gathering together with our families. This season as we spend time helping those in need, I pray that we never lose track of the “big picture” of Christmas as we humbly kneel before the manger and worship our Savior who is God’s Son who came into this world as a baby to take all our sins away. This is the “big picture”. It is this picture we need to see this Christmas and every Christmas. Have a blessed Advent and Christmas season.

—Pastor Gartner


Church News

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. Our theme for this year is based on 1 John 4 using the theme: "Lord Jesus, Come to Me" This week we will see Jesus coming to us with his Truth.

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

John "Jack" Cleven 

John was called home to heaven December 6th at the age of 84 years. His funeral was December 11.

Jacquelyn Woehler 

Jacquelyn was called home to heaven on December 10th at the age of 77 years. Her funeral will be at St. John on Friday December 14th at 11:00 am with visitation beginning at 10:00 am. There will also be a visitation at Valley Funeral Home on Thursday from 4-7 pm.

May the comfort of the Christmas and Easter Gospel bring the Cleven and Woehler families true peace and joy during this time of earthly sadness.