I mentioned last month that November was a time to reflect on the past year and wonder at what the Lord has done so far here at Bethlehem and in our lives. Advent gives us an interesting opportunity. While the rest of the world is counting down the calendar year and waiting for 2015, we have a bit of jump on them. December gives us the opportunity to look forward and wait…for Jesus’ first coming to that manger in Bethlehem, to His presence among us at Bethlehem now—even as we celebrate Advent and Christmas, and to His coming again at the end of time. So we look forward.
Looking forward brings us to new things. I’d like to introduce our new logo. (See in the upper left hand corner) We’ve incorporated the window from our sanctuary and community center that identifies us as Bethlehem. The cross-shaped star points us to that first Beth-lehem where the star led wise men to that place in the hills—reminding us of that hill outside Jerusalem where Jesus changed everything for us. The cross-shaped star reminds us of our Bethlehem, nestled into the West Hills, where Jesus still comes in His Word and sacraments and changes everything for us. The star-shaped cross reminds us that from Bethlehem—ours and that other one—the light of the Gospel shines into the night, into the world.
The words, “where Jesus meets His family,” speak to what happened that first Christmas in that other Bethlehem. These words also speak to our Bethlehem, too. I mentioned already that Jesus meets us in His Word and sacraments and gathers us as His family. At this Bethlehem, we are building the family of God through rela-tionships with Him. Here, we are connecting people with Jesus through worship, in discipleship, in relationships and into service to our Lord and our neighbors. Jesus is always meeting His family here. I pray this will always be so, here at Bethlehem.
May the peace Jesus brings be with you, this Christmas and always,