“Christ in you the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
Max Lucado’s book In the Manger is collection of excerpts from his various writings and put into a December daily devotional. In one chapter he reflects on the thought of the Christ child living within Mary’s womb and says that is what Christ wants to do with each of us, live within us.
“Christ grew in Mary until he had to come out. Christ will grow in you until the same occurs. He will come out in your speech, in your actions, in your decisions. Every place you live will be a Bethlehem and every day you live will be a Christmas. You, like Mary, will deliver Christ into the world.” (p.31)
What a profound thought! Christmas is both a celebration of Christ coming into the world through a human being long ago and today. How is Christ coming out through you?
As I think back on our year at St. Luke’s I consider the many ways we have helped people find and give hope through Christ. People who lost loved ones this year often hug me as they leave worship. It’s not unusual for them to say something like, “I knew St. Luke’s was a caring family, I just didn’t know how much until this year!”
I think about the people who joined our church this year like Ryan Berdel, whose story I shared in a sermon recently about how he came to believe in God again through his family and St. Luke’s.
I think about how this has been a tough year in our denomination, but St. Luke’s has declared with greater passion that we will continue to be an open community that does more than welcome all, but sees that everyone is treated the same.
I think about the amazing mission and outreach ministries that happen through St. Luke’s from SAWs to Fletcher Place to global mission support to our assistance of the New Era Church after-school program to our support of the schools in our own parish to the Crooked Creek Food Pantry. Steve Claffey, chair of the Food Pantry board, recently sent an email titled “Really?” In recognizing the 5th anniversary of the pantry earlier this month Steve did some fact checking on the pantry’s impact. He found that to date they have served over 17,000 households and more than 81,000 people. The average client receives items worth more than $100 retail value when they visit the pantry.
Everyday is Christmas in our church. Now we get to celebrate the event that began this hope-giving. I look forward to this Sunday and Christmas Eve to sharing the hope that changes our lives and the world. I hope you will bring others with you who may receive the message that “this day in the city of David a Saviour has been born to you!”