I, along with Anna, Jorey, and Jeff, wish you a blessed Advent and a Merry Christmas!May you have a happy holiday season as you celebrate the gift of God — Immanuel, who is God-with-Us.

There are two powerful themes that are part of the Christmas story.The first is, “Fear not.”Throughout the story, the people who encounter God through angels and the circumstances of Christ’s birth are told, “Fear not.”We live in a world that contains much fear and anxiety.Fear and anxiety are at the root of many of the issues we deal with as a society and a culture.We are taught to fear those who are different from us.We are taught to be fearful of the future, because we don’t know what it holds.Our media and our politics are based on making us afraid.But throughout this season, we hear the message, “Fear not.”Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, the shepherds in the fields, and all involved are told to, “Fear not.”We are not called to live in fear, for, as we hear in scripture, “Perfect love casts out all fear.”God has come to our world in Christ.The Love of God is incarnate in Jesus and he who is perfect love casts out all fear.“Fear not.”Christ is here and we live in the sure and certain hope of the promise of life that comes through the birth of the Jesus.

The second powerful them of Christmas is that Christ is here.God does not stay removed from us.God does not require us to work and perfect our lives so that we can reach him.Rather, God stoops down to our world and comes to dwell with us as one of us.God promises to be in our midst.Christ is here.Christmas tells us that God walks with us.Christ is here and we can know that he surrounds us and sustains us with his abiding presence.To you is born this day a savior, Christ the Lord.Jesus is here for you.Fear not. Blessings to you this month.

Pastor Siri Sorenson