A Christmas Message from Pastor Larry Stappler

Pastor Larry Stappler

Hope is in air around us this time of year.  Hope for a wonderful Christmas Season.  Hope for the love of Christ Jesus, born in Bethlehem, to shine in everyone.   Hope for the health of loved ones.  Hope for family members and friends to be reconciled.   Hope that those traveling for the holidays will arrive safely.

Hope.  Hope at times keeps us going when life is difficult.  Hope is the fire that lights our lives.  Hope coupled with faith can move mountains.   Hope gets us up in morning and ready for a new day.

Hope is what the Magi had as they followed a star to Bethlehem and discovered Jesus.  “When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.  On the entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.”    (Matthew 2:10-11)

It was hope that compelled the shepherds to follow the angels’ herald and go to Bethlehem to see Jesus with Mary and Joseph.  The shepherds returned in hope now coupled with faith.   “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid: for see-I am bringing good news of great joy for all people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.’”   (Luke 2: 10-11)

The last verse of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” express hope for all of us.

“O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.  We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel!”

God is with us, Immanuel, and I pray that in the midst of life, whatever that may be for you at this time, God will give you hope for each new day and glad tidings for this Christmas Season.

In Hope,

Pastor Larry Stappler

Director of Pastoral Care