Peace Lutheran Church Natoma, Kansas
I was born at 6AM on a Friday in October. Needless to say, my dad, a Lutheran school teacher, did not go to work that day. However, one of the administrators at the school posted a sign that read ‘It’s a boy!’ to announce to both students and faculty alike, that the anticipated birth had occurred. That sign later ended up in an album as a keepsake of the day.
You probably have your own stories of how your birth was announced: a newspaper article or church bulletin announcement declaring the big news; maybe even a sign at the store or in the bank window for everyone to see. While many of these means are still used today, a sign of the changing times is that many people now make the first announcement of the birth of a child on social media outlets like facebook and twitter.
One thing is for sure however, no matter how the birth is announced: there is excitement by all, particularly in smaller communities, where everyone knows your name. But no matter where you are born, there is always going to be speculation as to what will become of this child who has been born to these parents.
In olden days, this was not much of a question: boys were assumed to follow in the footsteps of their father, particularly in terms of farming; and girls were assumed to follow in the footsteps of their mother, normally as a homemaker. Today, it is rare that children follow in the exact footsteps of their parents, many desiring to follow a different path. Today, when a child is born, there are endless possibilities as to what their future holds, including the possibility of being President of the United States.
This year, during our midweek Advent services, we are going to look at the birth of four individuals, and examine how their births were viewed when the announcement was made that ‘A child is born’.
Like many children born today, there was endless speculation as to what path Cain would follow; especially considering that he was to be the promised one. Isaac took a more traditional route in that he would follow in his father Abraham’s footsteps; but the fact that he was born, to parents considered barren was more than enough cause for rejoicing. Solomon was born following great controversy and scandal in the house of David; how do you think that went over in Israel?
And finally there is Jesus; His birth is unique in so many ways, and yet, His is also the one that goes overlooked by most in His own day. And yet, when the announcement is made that ‘A child is born!’ it will signal a whole new world, whose impact goes far beyond what Mary and Joseph could even begin to imagine.
And it is because a child is born in Bethlehem, who will go to the cross and suffer and die, and then rise on the third day, that today, when the announcement is made that a child is born, there is rejoicing, not sadness; there is anticipation, not fear; there is hope, not dread. For that child whose is born, whether it is a hospital in Brooklyn, New York or in Hays, Kansas or in an old farm house, is one for whom Christ came into the world to redeem from sin, death and the power of the devil.
For some 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, a child was born, and it is Christ the Lord.
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt