Message from the Pastor

Rev. Sundar SamuelS

Dear Members and Friends, receives more than a million emails every year, and each one gets a response. Here are some samples of the emails they receive:
Dear Santa, Iím sorry, but I donít have a chimneyÖIíll leave the cat flap unlocked for you, but please watch out for the litter box! Jon (age 4).
Dear Santa, Iím sorry for putting all that Ex-lax in your milk last year, but I wasnít sure if you were real. My dad was really mad. Bri, (age 7).
Dear Santa, Do you know Jesus is the real reason for the Christmas? Not to be mean, but he is. Rosanne (age 11).

Rosanne is right, of course. Jesus is indeed the reason for the season!

My second parish was in Bainbridge, NY. Right across from the parsonage was the commons where every summer a whole bunch of vendors would set up for a local flea market every Saturday. One such Saturday, I came upon an antique Christmas crèche, or a manger scene. The price was too good to be true. When I questioned the owner, she verified that it was the correct price. “You can have it for a dollar,” she said. “It’s all there except Jesus”. No wonder the price was so low! A Christmas crèche is worthless without the figurine of the Christ child. That’s the centerpiece, the most important part.

That says it all, doesn’t it? That’s what Christmas is all about. That is why we read with so much eagerness that wondrous story about shepherds, angels, the wise men and a star! All those who came to see the babe Jesus were amazed at what they heard from the angels, and how the heavenly bodies led them to this infant to worship and offer precious gifts. Someone has called it the greatest story ever told, and it is.

When they laid the first transatlantic cable across the bed of the Atlantic Ocean to Europe they wondered: what should be the first message sent over this cable to see if it is working? Finally, they chose these words spoken first by the angels: “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward mankind.”

This Advent Season, the first thing we need to see is that “Love came down at Christmas.” Christmas began in the heart of God. The New Testament teaches us that the very nature of God is love. In the glow of Christmas, we know ourselves to be loved and we are led to love others.

It is no accident that Christmas comes at the darkest time of the year. We don’t know the date when Jesus was actually born, so when the date was set for Christmas it was to symbolize the words of the Prophet Isaiah that “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.” Christmas represents hope. There is no finer symbol of hope than the birth of the Christ child. A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on…

This is to say that Christmas is the best news this world could ever receive. An angel had the privilege of first announcing the news to the shepherds. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” What a powerful message.

Years ago author Chuck Swindoll pointed out the difference that a baby can make. He wrote of Napoleon sweeping through Austria in1809. That was the big news that transfixed the world of that time. Looking back, however, the really important news of that year was not the battles that were fought, but the babies that were born: William Gladstone, for example, one of the finest statesmen that England ever produced. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the extraordinary poet. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Darwin, and perhaps most notably, Abraham Lincoln.

Swindoll writes, “if there had been news broadcasts at that time, I’m certain these words would have been heard: ‘The destiny of the world is being shaped on an Austrian battlefield today.” Or was it?

“Funny, only a handful of history buffs today could name even two or three of the Austrian campaigns. Looking back, you and I realize that history was actually being shaped in the cradles of England and America as young mothers held in their arms the shakers and the movers of the future…” (Charles R. Swindoll, Growing Deep in the Christian Life (Portland: Multnomah press, 1986).

History was certainly being shaped as Mary held her newborn son in her arms. Not only the history of the world, but your history and mine. Let us give God thanks today. Christmas comes from the heart of God. Christmas is about hope for all mankind and Christmas is the best news this world could ever receive.

I wish you and yours a wonderful Advent Season and a blessed Christmas.



Pastor Sundar