Pastir’s Pen – December 2016

Written by Pastor's Pen - November 29, 2016 0 Comments

The Pastor’s Pen

Dr. Oswald Hoffman, who for many years was the speaker on the “Lutheran Hour” radio program, told the story of a woman who bought a picture at a rummage sale for $3. She was attracted to it because she thought it was pretty. It showed Mary and the baby Jesus with two saints. Nobody else at the sale wanted that painting. It did not seem to have much value. It looked just like other discarded items that people frequently bring to rummage sales.

The woman took the painting home, hung it on a wall, and didn’t think much more about it. Later on, an Italian art expert recognized it as the original work of Luca Longhi, a 16th century master. Suddenly the appraised value of the painting rose from $3 to $25,000.  Collectors clamored to buy it. Finally, someone had recognized it for what it really was.

You and I live in a world that does not recognize the value of the most priceless masterpiece of all – the Savior born as a baby in a stable. Jesus’ birth is often seen by the world as unimportant.  It is considered incidental to what Christmas is really about: Santa and Rudolph, parties and decorations, giving and receiving presents. The world tries to direct our attention away from the center of Christmas to things that are peripheral.

We don’t have to follow the dictates of the world, however. We can recognize the value of God’s masterpiece, even if the rest of the world does not. Through personal and family devotions, through participation in worship, through listening and singing along to religious Christmas carols, through momentary times of quiet reflection in the midst of the day’s activities – in all of these ways we can be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas and of the priceless gift God has given us.

Don’t let the world blind you to the value of the Christ-child. Don’t be seduced by the world’s insistence that there are other things that are more important than the baby in the manger. As Christians, we know that that baby is at the center of history.  His life, death and resurrection are at the heart of God’s plan to restore all of creation to himself. Let your celebration of Christmas reflect the priceless quality of God’s most precious gift. Be like the Italian art expert who recognized the value of the masterpiece.

Christmas blessings to each of you!

Pastor Selbo


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