What are you carrying as Christmas approaches?
There is no mention of a donkey in the Christmas text. But whether or not there was a donkey, people all were carrying different things.
Joseph was probably carrying more questions than just, “Where are we going to stay?”
Mary was “heavy with child,” carrying the fear of her first birth and the question of how this happened.
The innkeeper was carrying his compassion to allow this family to have a place to stay, even if all he could offer was a common room or stable.
The shepherds were carrying the way that people thought about them in town. More so, they were carrying the joy of knowing God was up to something special. They also were carrying the terror they felt at being encountered by an army of angels.
Angels were carrying “Good News” to give hope to all people.
God knows what you are carrying in these days beyond presents, full hearts, weary minds, longings, and hopes. God knows what you are carrying whether it be sadness, joys, hopes, or fears.
Even as we celebrate and seek to be free from all that we carry for a while, we know that Jesus – the one whose birth we celebrate – carried a cross for you, me, and all of humanity.
It all starts with a baby so small and vulnerable you could carry him with one hand like a football. But God’s work through Jesus continues to unfold. Martin Luther, in his Large Catechism, says the work of God in Jesus is “so rich and broad that we never can learn it fully.” (Book of Concord p. 435).
Let’s carry that awareness as we approach the celebration of Christ Jesus’ birth, life, and message.
4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people. 11 To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Top Row: Tammy Sather, Carla Klawitter, Rev. Kathryn Skoglund, Caitlin Kodet, Kristin Bakeberg
Bottom Row: Deb Hess, Bp. Jon Anderson, Rev. Linda Pedersen, Rev. Larry Strenge.
Not Pictured: Sarah Hausken and Rev, Andrew Hermodson-Olsen.
As we celebrate this season, the synod office will be closed Friday, December 23 through Monday, December 26, as well as Monday, January 2.