Running to Bethlehem

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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus our Lord,

It is almost here. And it would not be hard to miss it. Really! It is such a hectic time of year. Calendars are so cluttered with activity. The worship schedule is heavier than usual, and it was already heavy. The only relief this year is that the holidays fall on Sundays. Pity the poor souls who must also design and lead the “-eve” services too, on the Saturday nights before the big Sundays. Sometimes, I know from personal experience, it is all a bit too much. And January looks so good – and so far away. When will it all be over?

May I urge you, in the name of the Babe in the manger, to take time, even if you are not sure you have any available, to “keep and ponder in (y)our mind God’s wondrous love in saving lost mankind!” I had the privilege of attending recently my first Church School Christmas Program – my first as simply a grandparent. I never had that privilege as a parent, having been required to lead and almost always preach at the service during which it took place. That was also true for several years of my grandparent-hood. But this time I could just attend and, for a few moments, look at Christmas through the eyes of the children, a few of whom I loved particularly. Their uninhibited adoration was inspiring. Their joyous singing was amazing. Their worship was contagious. And I was enriched.

It is my prayer for you that this special week, bookended by holidays, may find you pondering. Let the truth of the amazing birth of Emmanu-el, “God with us,” light up your life and find you running, figuratively at least, to Bethlehem to see the baby. And when you find the Christ child may the joy of that discovery find you running also from Bethlehem to tell all those you see the good news. Let the lights and the decorations and the presents guide you, star-like, to the destination God had in mind for all His children. And once there, open not only your hands but your hearts to “receive him still” and experience once again the miracle that “the dear Christ enters in.”

I pray for you all the true joy of Christmas, the authentic spirit of Christmas, the quiet reverence of Christmas, the undeniable inspiration of Christmas, and the abiding hope of Christmas. I pray you find the opportunity to share the heart of Christmas with those whom you love. And I pray that the Christ of Christmas will bring you closer and closer to Himself and to all those who yet need to find Him.

A Most Blessed Christmas and New Year to you All,
Joel R. Boot

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