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Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising, Michigan

Little Bethlehems Of Ephrathah - 12/20/2015

Advent is the season of expectation. So what can we expect, we may want to ask ourselves. One perspective came from a reflection on Advent this past Wednesday at Holden Evening Prayer, “Christmas is the guest everyone is eagerly watching for. We’re looking out the window, checking our watches, squealing with glee, and clamoring to the door as it finally pulls into the driveway. It’s here! It’s here!” (Siri Liv Myhrom, The Shoulder Season of Advent, http://www.onbeing.org/blog/the-shoulder-season-of-advent/8190)

We expect to be reminded of that God's activity in the world is big and life-changing for all of God's people, for all of creation. God chose to come among us in the beautiful and sometimes fragile form of a human being, and then died on a cross for us and freed us to eternal life in and with God. In that deep and abiding mercy, we were shown the way to forgiveness through the bread and the wine and the waters of baptism. It was so for the generations that came before us. It is so for us today as we give thanks for our baptisms and come to the table together, and it will be so for the generations to come. It's a big deal.

Our texts today seems to pull away from all the bigness of this news a little bit though, and point us to the origins of this work of the Holy Spirit, the places and people and experiences God works through to bring about this big deal. And they are small places, often surprising, 

Last week while I was talking with the kids about the nativity scene out in the narthex, I asked the kids why, if God could do anything God wanted, was Jesus born in a barn and in such poor and dangerous circumstances? One of our budding theologians here at Eden on the Bay offered up a powerful response … “To show us the beauty in it?” he said.

God works great and beautiful things through the most unassuming and unexpected places. With God we should expect …

… a powerful witness to the Gospel in the voice of a Sunday School student. We should expect …

… to be reminded of the ways God is still at work in all the little places of the world through people and situations … that God is magnified in the souls of the faithful like us gathered here this morning and so many others outside these doors. We should expect ...

… that through us, God's enormous acts of mercy continue to enter into this world and favor the lowly, feed the hungry, and call the overly proud and power hungry back to the way of the Lord. We should expect …

… to feel and be changed by the Holy Spirit at work when our children come before us to tell us the story of Christmas.

Pastor Ann Gonyea

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Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising Michigan ~ An ELCA, Northern Great Lakes Synod Congregation
P.O. Box 360 ~ 1150 West M-28 ~ Munising, MI 49862 ~ 1-906-387-2520 ~ contact@edenonthebay.org

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