Prayer: We sing praises to you on this special day, God, and thank you for sending your son, Jesus. Amen.
Reading: Luke 2: 1-20 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Every year, Christmas is special to me. Spending time with family and friends, seeing the smiles on my kids’ faces, being part of a church community as we light candles and sing carols all contribute to the great feeling this time of year.
But seven years ago, I saw Advent and Christmas in a whole new light as my wife and I were expecting our first child in less than a month from Christmas Day. It turned out our daughter was only four days from being born (she came three and a half weeks before the due date).
That year, for the first time in my life, I truly knew the anticipation that Mary and Joseph felt over two thousand years ago. I knew how it felt to be expecting a big life change that can’t really be described until you experience it. I knew how it must have felt for Mary and Joseph to get the house ready for a newborn and have to plan schedules around an event that is so unpredictable. I thought about our child’s life and what he or she might grow up to be. I truly knew how it is to put all your efforts into one human being whose arrival we’d anticipated for nine months.
As you pause today to reflect on the birth of the baby Jesus so many years ago, may you be filled with the wonder of a newborn child. May you look up with hope and trust to our God above, in thanksgiving for all God does for you each and every day. And may you sing with the chorus of angels, announcing the birth of our savior, confident in God’s love for us. Merry Christmas! --Chad Hershberger
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