Word of the Month

Blessed greetings for the Christmas season!

December 2009

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the start of the year 2009 I called upon everyone to get more involved in fellowship. Today I can thankfully attest that this appeal did not fall on deaf ears. Numerous reports testify of your involvement. Many of you have participated in both larger and smaller fellowship activities.

One particularly special experience of fellowship was the European Youth Day this year. Countless impulses were generated by this event. I am convinced that this day was an important experience which did a great deal to promote the faith of our youth. Many young people felt the nearness of God and perceived the power of this fellowship. Your commitment and your donations made this European Youth Day possible, and they also helped make it a success. At this time I would once again like to express my warm thanks for your support.

The Thanksgiving offering which we bring to the Lord collectively is also an element of the experience of fellowship which we share and which unites us. All who contributed, whether in large part or in small, are part of this fellowship of offering. I thank all of you with all my heart for the gifts you have brought. May our heavenly Father bless and reward your loyalty in offering richly! All the gifts which we bring into the house of the Lord serve to the development of the congregations.

But let us not simply be content with what we have “achieved”, because all of our good works have their source in God’s actions upon us. We should be particularly conscious of this over the Christmas season, because “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (cf. John 1: 14). This is a gift of God – not only for the people of the past, but also for each one of us.

God became a human being in Jesus Christ, a flesh-and-blood human being who lived for a specific length of time, performed miracles, preached about the kingdom of God – and who died on the cross for the sins of the world! This same man was raised up from the dead by God. This is what distinguishes Jesus Christ from all other human beings who have ever lived and died.

It was during a time of hope throughout the Roman Empire that God became human. The Roman poet Virgil, known for his Roman national epic, “The Aeneid”, composed a poem of praise in which the birth of a divine child was foretold to the imperial house of Augustus. Others, namely the devout Jews of the time, were waiting for the promised Messiah. One such example was Simeon, who waited patiently until God showed him the Christ (= Messiah) in the little child Jesus. But the birth of this child had already been announced long before. The prophet Isaiah already foretold: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7: 14). The Gospel of Matthew translates the Hebrew name “Immanuel” as “God with us”, which means that God Himself has come into the world in Jesus of Nazareth.

The incarnation of God is something that completely defines our lives. The question remains: “Why did God become human?” He did so because He loves the world! Jesus Christ has come into the world and taken its sins upon Himself. Mankind has thus been liberated from sin.

I wish all of you a richly blessed Christmas, as well as much peace and joy over the holidays. May the Lord bring you joy and preserve and protect you!

Yours,

Wilhelm Leber

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