Bethlehem Lutheran Church

The Heart of Bay Ridge
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Sunday Service 10:30am
4th & Ovington Avenues
Brooklyn NY  11209
718.748.9502
Rev. Paul H. Knudsen
Pastor Paul's December Message
Bethlehem Lutheran Church ®  |  4th & Ovington Avenues, Brooklyn NY 11209  |  718.748.9502
A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)


Dear Members and Friends,

Thanksgiving and Christmas are so much more relaxing these days. Thanksgiving is hosted by my son & daughter-in-law. Christmas is hosted by my daughter and son-in-law. Gone are the days of running out of pots in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, because we had to cook all the traditional vegetables that the kids never ate. Gone are the days of transforming the house with Christmas decorations and shopping for countless presents. Gone are the days of trimming the tree and wrapping presents throughout the night on Christmas Eve. Gone are the stressors that used to fill my holiday season.

Am I sounding old yet? Probably, but at 65 years old, I am comfortable with that designation. Yes, it is wonderful that parents of young children do their best to make the Thanksgiving and Christmas season as magical and happy as possible. I get it, but all too often the true joy of the season gets lost in the stress. Things that should be less important get the highest priority and the things that should be the most important get neglected. I am very content that the madness is behind me.

In my 8th grade Christian Living class we just wrapped up the discussion of our Thanksgiving “Pearls of Wisdom.” There is one that sticks out in my mind. “We need to live with a sense of awe and wonder.” I asked my students if anything had prompted them to say, “WOW” recently. All I got was blank stares. We live day in and day out and we just do what we have to do. We go to school. We go to work. We take care of our responsibilities. We go through the motions. But, are we really alive? Is there any awe and wonder in our life? Is there anything that prompts us to say, “Wow”?

I would like to propose that the real Christmas story is filled with awe and wonder. The birth of Jesus Christ is filled with “Wows”. The savior of the world was born amongst the animals and placed in a feeding trough. The first to hear of the good news were lowly shepherds watching their flocks in the middle of the night. An angel announced the news to the shepherds and then the angel was joined by a multitude of angels praising God. There is an angel that appears to Joseph in a dream telling him that Mary’s child is from the Holy Spirit and he should take her to be his wife. Foreigners from the East travel to Jerusalem in search of the newborn king. The wise men followed the star and it rested over the place where Jesus was staying. They presented their gifts and bowed before the newborn king.

Quite honestly, the previous paragraph has a lot of awe and wonder in it. My hope and prayer is that in the midst of the busyness of this month, the incredible awe and wonder of the birth of our savior comes alive for you. The God of the Universe broke into this world in the form of a helpless baby, born in the most humble surroundings. All I can say is “Wow”. That’s Christmas!

In the Lord’s service,