The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Choices at Christmas

This holiday time we reflect not only on Christ's birth but on the reason for it and the message of grace, peace, forgiveness and love he brought. In living, Jesus taught us how to live. In dying, he saved us from our sins and our human frailties of anger, deception, revenge, judgment, fear, greed, envy and pride. He equipped us to bear the fruits of the Spirit "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22) — and to use them. Do we?

Do we love God, our families, our neighbors local and global and, hardest of all, our enemies? Do we forgive 70 times seven? Jesus told us to do this to liberate a world grounded in rules and traditions, a world that waged war and dominated those it considered unworthy. Do we?

What would Christ think today if he happened upon our partying, our Christmas cheer? What would he think about the global impact of our neglect and greed? About the devastation of our warring? About the "least of these" among us — the homeless, the sick, the poor — for whom he calls us to care?

Christians must choose: Will we stand by Christ, the one born to turn the world upside down with his message of love, peace, truth, forgiveness and grace? Or will we simply be pious, even as we conserve the status quo that benefits us? We can't do both. We know the answer. No matter the circumstance, we are called to choose love over hate, peace over war, truth over deception, humility over pride and forgiveness over revenge. This is the message of Christmas.

This week's front page features:

Waiting for Jesus : Are we ready for the life-changing experience of Christmas?

Brad Anderson: 'Unleash the power of people.' Best Buy CEO's philosophy echoes Lutheran understanding of vocation.

A souvenir ... cartoon? At the Global Mission Event, humor & hunger meet on the sketch pad.

Go in peace ... experience the shalom of God.

Also: Our faith: Just imagine.

Also: 'A treat for the senses.'

Also: My view: Reflections on Rowling.

Read these articles at our front page ...

Discuss 'A souvenir ... cartoon?'

David DrummParticipants at ELCA Global Mission Events routinely return home with new insight about a global neighbor or a new song they've learned. But until this year, they haven't returned home with a souvenir cartoon of themselves.

Cartoonist David Drumm (right) sketched and gave away cartoons at the July Global Mission Event in Ohio.

Join Drumm today through Dec. 18 to discuss the event and his cartoons.

Join the conversation ...

This week on our blog:

Julie Sevig

Amber Leberman blogs about the wild success of the 95 Theses.

Julie Sevig (right) writes about Mrs. Hilmoe — who first encouraged her talent for writing.

Sonia Solomonson blogs about Advent calendars.

Check out our blog ...

Last chance! Tell us about communion age:

In the "old days" first communion was tied to the rite of confirmation. Then the age of instruction and first communion was lowered. Today in many of our churches young children — even babies and toddlers — are served communion. "The Use of the Means of Grace," the ELCA's statement on word and sacrament, states that all the baptized are welcome to receive communion. Yet a range of opinions on a proper age exists. Share yours.

Send your response to julie.sevig@thelutheran.org by Dec. 12.

Or respond online ...

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The Little LutheranThe December issue of The Little Lutheran has arrived.

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The Little Lutheran helps children 6 and younger learn about God's love for them and the world in which they live. It teaches them about Jesus, their friend and savior.

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