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Pastor’s Corner Rev. Gideon Gallo, pastor, Gladbrook United Methodist Church Gladbrook, Iowa-“Celebrating Christmas”

December 27, 2018
Northern-Sun Print
In November 15, 2009, my family (Originally, we came from the Philippines) decided to go to Valley West Mall because they have a good children’s area and a Chinese Cuisine in their food court. It was a good decision because the Mall was set up with big Christmas trees; small go-around train, and a chance to have pictures with Santa Clause. When we arrived at the Mall, we noticed there were many people. We went straight to the Chinese Cuisine but unfortunately the store was closed due to renovation. We ended up eating at Subway. After eating our food, we immediately went where the go-around train and Santa Clause photo studio were located. My kids ride on the train and we enjoyed taking pictures. After few hours of moving around the Mall and taking pictures on some of the Christmas decorations, we decided to go home. On our way home, I asked my wife on the things she observed on the Christmas decorations inside the Mall. She told me that she did not see the images of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and shepherds, and the usual manger scene that we know. What we saw is just Santa Clause, Reindeer, big Christmas Trees-I think there weret four of them. Then, we ended our conversation on what we observed inside the Mall with the question “How are we going to observe Christmas?” How should Christmas be observed? How should thoughtful believers approach this day in recognition of its significance and yet relate to the world in which we live? Believe it or not the answer was given centuries ago as Luke recorded the events of the birth of Jesus. In the Gospel of Luke, the author tells us how the shepherds came from the fields roundabout Bethlehem, saying: “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this Child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and see, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:17-20). For the author of the Gospel of Luke, Christmas is God’s event and he tells us four ways we can celebrate Christmas. First, the shepherds spread the word concerning this Child. Eventually the disciples did the same. When reproved by a skeptical world, they replied, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). So, in celebrating tell somebody else exactly what happened on that first Christmas morn. Tell your own Christmas-Faith story to other people. The second way is found in the response of these men as to what had happened. They were amazed-they marveled at what had taken place. Have you ever watched a child’s eyes as he opened his gifts on Christmas morning? Yes, that’s amazement. As you look at the birth of Jesus, and understand that God became flesh, hold on to that sense of awe. On that first Christmas, Mary pondered all these things in her heart. It takes time to clear aside the trappings of Christmas to allow our thinking to dwell on these facts but taking time to ponder the meaning of the Birth of Jesus does something to dramatically change your life-style. Think of it and think about it! The Birth of Jesus Christ, the Lord and the Savior of the world, is also the birth of change that God would like to take place in your life. Finally, you can celebrate Christmas as did the shepherds when they returned by “glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen.” May this season of the Birth of Jesus Christ bring joy and peace in your celebration and give you something to proclaim telling the whole world, in Christ my Hope Is Born.


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