"The moon God made to mark the seasons and the sun knows when to set." –Psalm 104:19

Here we are at the changing of the seasons again. This month (Feb) will begin Lent—that means Spring in Latin you know! We have become too scientific and precise in our world, so some of you may say—but Pastor it’s not spring until march 20—the vernal equinox. Well, embrace the rhythms that God set and read the wonders of Creation like the Psalmist says in Psalm 104.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” -2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV)

Happy Epiphany! Yes, yet another installment in our Christmas Cycle. Epiphany (the coming of the three Kings) reminds us that the Light that came, is here, and is coming into the world, Jesus, is not just a casual event but an event that changes everything. And it requires a response from us. Not to be saved, Jesus did that on the cross and adopted you into the Father’s family by the Spirit at your baptism. No, the response is not to be saved (not to go to heaven) but to respond to what God has done in saving you. Martin Luther explained it this way—if you had been in a terrible accident and were on the verge of death and could not do anything to save yourself, how would you react if someone then saved you, especially if that someone could have just walked on by or stopped and stared and if that someone was hurt in the process of saving you? Would you be bitter, upset, or angry? Would you be full of guilt and shame? Or would you be full of gratitude and joy? What loyalty or trust would you place in that person that saved you? What if you asked how you could best honor them and the person said to you—“Help others?” Well that is exactly the situation we are in. That Christ who came to earth in flesh and died for us has rescued us from a death that we were powerless to avoid. Jesus has saved you and tells us to now do the same. Do you trust Him, show gratitude to Him, and dedicate your life to helping others? That is the Christian life of gratitude.

They found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger… And Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. –Luke 2: 16,19

Ever notice how truly quiet and still it gets when it is snowing—it’s like the blanket of snow wraps everything in it and brings stillness. I often think of how calming it is, how beautiful it is, and how warm it is to snuggle in a blanket in front of a fire watching the snow fall, or being in a forest with a gentle snow falling. Of course then my mind wanders to those traveling, to my kids driving in the snow, to me shoveling us out in the morning, to Heather and I anxiously waiting until everybody is also snug in a blanket off the roads. The world interferes. The comfort and stillness, the newness of the snow becomes worry and frustration and busy.

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