The Pastor's Peace - December, 2014
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By the time you read this, no doubt there will be many Christmas jingles on the radio and in the stores reminding you of good times and holiday cheer. This is ok, a bit early perhaps, but ok. In Christmas we remember the light that comes into the world through Christ and brings peace, hope, joy, and love. Right now as I write this, I could use a couple of these things. You see, the other text I am writing today is a eulogy. I have lost my last Betty here at the church. When I first got to Beaver church I had three Bettys, my Betty trio: Betty Brill, Betty Gilbert, and Betty Filson. All three were fantastic older women who had seen much and had much to share. All three were women of faith in their own way, and each inspired me. Tomorrow is Betty Filson’s funeral, three months ago was Betty Gilbert’s, and two years ago we lost Betty Brill. Despite all of the Christmas music around me, despite the plans for tree decorating, I have to say it sucks. I could try to sugar coat things, but sometimes life is hard, and anyone reading this knows that to be true.

Advent, a period of the church calendar, has that understanding built into it as well. We often skip past the season of Advent, certainly our malls and radio stations do, but it is an important season. When we sing songs such as “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” we do so to acknowledge the difficulty of life. We don’t plead for Jesus to come to us because he has a Tickle Me Elmo, or a life-sized Elsa doll; we cry out to Jesus because we need him. We need him to help with the sorrows of life, with the times when our faith is challenged, with the hardships that threaten to break apart our families and way of life. These difficulties are real, and, boy, do we need some help with them. Advent doesn’t begin for another week or so, but I am certainly having that longing-for-Jesus feeling right now. Then again, Advent is only a representation, an allotted time period to explore and acknowledge feelings we have all the time.

Luckily, Christmas is merely a representation as well, a time to remember Christ in our lives, and we don’t need to wait until December 25th to receive that light in the darkness. Each month, each week, each day of our life is likely an Advent and Christmas all wrapped together. Throughout our lives we face darkness and therefore it is important to know that the light is always there as well. So feel free to crank up that Christmas music, listen to it today, or in July if you want. Every day is a time to remember Christ, but in doing so understand what Christ does for us, understand that Christ is there for the pain and sorrow to give us that hope we often need. What a blessing that is, what a joy it brings, and what an awesome thing it is to celebrate on December 25th, or any other day of the year you need to. For me it’s today.

Peace, Blessings, and Merry Christmas!
Pastor Brian