+Bishop Dee Pederson’s Message for Christmas


In a Far-Off Place, Jesus Comes

1     In a far-off place, Jesus comes to earth. 
      Sheep and cattle grace the site. 
As the angel songs begin,
like the whisper of the wind,
nature’s hope awakes again; 
Jesus comes. 

2     For the poor in heart, Jesus comes to earth. 
      Humble shepherds start the news.
For each homeless infant born, 
for the meek and those who mourn, 
for the weary and the worn, 
Jesus comes. 

3     In our deepest night, Jesus comes to earth:
      radiant star to light our way. 
Summer’s heat or winter’s chill, 
with a warm and loving will, 
to a world that needs him still, 
Jesus comes. 

Text: Mary Louise Bringle, b. 1953
Text © 2009 GIA Publications, Inc., giamusic.com.
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #737666-A All rights reserved.[clear-line]

This has been a year when the Advent message of “Immanuel” – “God with us” – has been especially meaningful; powerful, in a gentle sort of way. We each can name the far-off places we’ve been, the fears, the losses, the roadblocks that suddenly appear, the continual pivoting to adapt to each new change, and the weariness of it all. In these moments, we often wonder where God is in the mix of it all. We feel we’re too far-off from the reach of God, can’t quite fathom that the Almighty God could be there in the messiness of life. Our lives.  

And yet God is. In the story of Jesus’ birth this promise is made known: Jesus comes. 

In this cold December, may you know that Jesus comes to you in your far-off place,  
wherever that may be. 
May you know again that this Child, Jesus, was born for you, dear child of God. 
May the good news of the Word-made-flesh bring you joy and peace.  
May the knowledge of the cross bring you comfort and strength. 
May your heart be lifted up by song and prayer and sacrament. 
May your eyes be opened to see the needs of our world. 
And may you go to far-off places and bring acts of love. 

+ Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas, 
Rev. Dee Pederson  
Bishop, Southwestern Minnesota Synod, ELCA 

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