Monday, December 20, 2021

Fourth Sunday in Advent



December 19, 2021



Luke 2:8-14

God’s love story for His people is about to come to pass as we get closer to the celebration of Christmas. Let us not be confused by what I am saying to mean God did not love his creation before. God has always loved His people beginning with Adam and Eve and continuing through everything that happened in the Old Testament. The thing God has always wanted is to have a vibrant relationship with His people. However, when sin entered in at the Garden of Eden, that love relationship became difficult. Too often Satan has deceived God’s people and made the relationship with God hard. God cannot stand defiant disobedience, just like most parents will not tolerate that attitude with their children. God chose to make a way His people could get right with him once and for all.


That new plan began in a manger over 2000 years ago. God changed everything that day. A Savior came to earth in the most unsuspecting way. As we have talked about before, the Savior was not born to a powerful earthly king. Instead, Jesus was born to an average woman in the most usual way. Jesus was not even born in a house or inn. He was born amidst God’s creation in a manger. His earthly dad was also just an ordinary man who worked with his hands to provide for his wife and baby. We also see the first to hear the news were not the powerful leaders of the town but working people, shepherds. The announcement to those lucky few was pretty impressive though. First, an angel appeared to the shepherds. Then a heavenly choir miraculously appeared out of nowhere to make the announcement of what had just happened. Can you picture what a moment that was? For Mary and Joseph to have such an incredible way Jesus was welcomed to the world. They both knew Jesus was not an average baby but was sent by God to do something special. But who could have imagined that the most unlikely men would be sent to confirm to Mary and Joseph what was soon going to happen?


Jesus came to earth to accomplish a couple of things. The most life changing was to show God’s love to His people in the most unusual way. Jesus came to earth to do what we could not do for ourselves--to destroy the effects of sin once and for all. God’s love came to earth in the most unusual way and then was fulfilled in the most unlikely of ways as well. 1 John 4:10-12 says “This is love; not that we love God, but that he loved us and sent his son an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” This is the message of Christmas. God loves us. God’s love has come and we can show we belong to God and he belongs to us if we share that love with one another. That is why the tradition of gift giving at Christmas began. God gave us the most perfect gift he ever could—the gift of eternal life and love. Now it is up to us. This Christmas may we find new ways to share God’s love with those around us. That is the legacy our Heavenly Father has given us. Enjoy this next week and may God help each of us experience his love in a new and fresh way and then may we pass it on to others.

 God bless you!

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Larry



Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday—studying Hebrews


Poinsettias are $11. If you ordered one, please pay Shirley W.


Advent Offering envelopes are in the back.


December 22 7:00 Christmas Service here; we plan to have it on facebook live as well. We’ll finish the service with communion and candlelight.


December 25 Christmas Day—Have a blessed day!




Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!


Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse

First Sundays: food donations for food banks


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362


To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:

Denomination: Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.

District: (click on newsletter link) and on facebook

Our pages: (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook

Keep in Your Prayers

Larry & Luana Cripe; Tina Wilhelm; Devon Wright; Dan & Val Rokosch; Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Maralyn & Galen Heckman; Bryce Ashenfelter; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 800,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren


Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers


Church of the Brethren vision statement:

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.


Our Mission Statement:

Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.

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