“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Merry Christmas! Frohe Weihnachten! Feliz Navidad! Around the world Christians are looking forward to a very happy celebration. Living in Germany, we see all the stops pulled out for the festive season. Already in September the Christmas cookies and Advent calendars appear in the stores. A few weeks later, world-famous Christmas markets pop up in most every village and in all the major cities. Brightly lit booths offer holiday treats and hand-crafted ornaments. Market squares are decorated with Christmas trees, manger scenes, and colorful lights. It’s a wonderful time to enjoy the sights, buy some presents and eat those delicious Lebkuchen. And don’t forget the Glühwein!
Many German Christmas customs have been adopted by other cultures. And while not everyone will be following Oma’s special roast goose recipe, they will be planning their family favorites for Christmas dinner. They will also be thinking about or already enjoying all the gifts under the Christmas tree. Children wish for the new toys and games. Adults often wish for something they really need. Festive family dinners, glittering lights and scented candles, and colorful wrapping paper scattered around the tree are all part of our happy Christmas memories. For the secular world, that’s all there is. They are missing God’s gift to them.
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. These familiar words from John’s Gospel proclaim the Christmas message perfectly. Our Heavenly Father loved everyone in the world so much that he gave us all the Christmas gift that we really, really needed—a Savior. We needed someone to live a perfect life, die a sacrificial death, and rise again in order to make peace with God. We needed someone to conquer sin and death. God’s one and only Son did that for the whole world! Because of God’s great love the best present of all is free to all. That is why we join the angels in singing “Glory to God in the highest!”
Christmas is truly about God the Father’s love for sinners. It began with that curse upon the Serpent in the Garden: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Gen 3:15 For thousands of years the details of what God promised in Eden were revealed and clarified as the prophets spoke of a child who would be born to a virgin in the little town of Bethlehem. The Old Testament was full of people anxiously waiting for that promise to come true. But it wasn’t until the Romans became a world power that “the set time had fully come, [and] God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Gal 4:4-5). There it is again. God wants us to be members of his family and he accomplished that by sending our “Savior…wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
“Glory to God in the highest!”
Christ, to you, with God the Father, and the Spirit ceaselessly Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving and unending praises be, Honor, glory, and dominion and eternal victory Evermore and evermore.
News From Our Worship Groups
We welcome Jessica Jacobsen to our London worship group. She hails from New Jersey and currently lives in Birmingham where she works for Mondelez International. Jessica is a familiar face to many of our members on the Continent as she lived in Munich previously and worshipped with us there.
The Turners (Holly and Cecil and their children Declan and Mia), stationed at Büchel and living near Spangdahlem, are new at our Ramstein worship group.
Chi-Lueng So joins our London worship group. Previously a member at King of Kings in Alexandria, Louisiana, Chi has moved to London after 22 years in the States.
We welcome all our new WELS Europe friends and look forward to getting to know you better as we worship and have fellowship together.
London in WELS news
Check out the feature on our work in London.
Call to London
Pastor Hartman continues to consider the call to be a missionary in London.
Mike and his wife Rachel met in Mexico City. Rachel is a freelance writer with a degree in business. They have four children ages 4 to 14. Fun family activities include regular Spanish only days in the home and Thursday international meal day. During the past three summers the family enjoyed supporting the ministry effort, accompanying Mike on extended mission trips to South America.
Schedule adjustment for January
Please note that in January we will shift our worship schedule back by one week. Worship will be as follows:
- London, January 9
- Wicker, January 16 and 30
- Ramstein, January 16 and 30
- Munich, January 20
- Vilseck, January 22
- Zurich, January 23
We will return to the previous schedule in February.
Our Offerings in November.
€150.00, £470.00, $60.00 and CHF310.00 were received in basket offerings. €3,665.80 were received as direct deposits.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7,8
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