December 2019 Issue I.VII “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11 (ESV)
Good News of Great Joy On the night of our Savior’s birth the shepherds were out tending their flock. Suddenly an angel appeared to them, bringing good news and saying, “unto you is born this day… a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 (ESV) Amazed at this the shepherds went to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby laying in a manger. On that night the shepherds looked down and saw the face of their Savior.
The Weihnachtsmarkt is one of the most iconic Christmas traditions in Germany. Frankfurt hosts one of the largest Christmas Markets in all of Germany, and it is a sight to behold. Old wood are stands erected across the city center, decorated with holly and strands of lights. Crowds move about the cobbled roads purchasing handmade ornaments, enjoy Kartoffelpuffers (a type of potato pancake), pretzels, or warm up with a mug of Glühwein. Then in the midst of the chaos stands an enormous Christmas tree and a nativity scene raised above the surrounding crowds and market stalls. It is the usual sort of nativity scene: three kings, a few shepherds, lambs, a donkey, Joseph, Mary, and the Christ swaddled and laying in a manger.
When I reflect on these fond memories from the Frankfurt Christmas Market, I can’t help but think of the thousands of people who walk past that nativity scene each year. I can’t help but wonder how many of them have heard the Christmas story before? How many of those enjoying these festivities and old Christmas traditions believe that the Son of God came into the world as a lowly babe to be the Savior of all mankind?
Our nativities serve as a reminder of that story. They remind us that Christmas is a time of celebration. It is a season when we rejoice in the coming Savior. It is a holy day in which we remember that the Savior of the world took on flesh and became a little child. Christmas is a time to share that message with the world. For as the angel says, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day… a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 (ESV) May we cherish that wonderful message, may we remember it every time we look at a nativity scene, and may we share that good news of great joy with all the world.
The year is coming to a close, and so is my time in the United States. Texas has always been my home. I was born in Texarkana, grew up in Dallas, and have come back to Houston over the past few years. But on January 6th, 2020 I will be flying to my new home: Germany. Soon after I arrive in Berlin I will begin Persian (Farsi) lessons with a private tutor. It is estimated that around 110 million people in the world speak Persian. I am looking forward to learning this ancient and wonderful language. In the mean time I will be celebrating Christmas and eating too much food at my parents’ home with family and friends.
– For a blessed Christmas season, as we celebrate Christ’s birth, and look forward to His return. – For my family, that God would continue to watch over them while I am overseas. – For safe travels as I begin my journey to Berlin, and for a blessed beginning to the work of God’s Church abroad.
After the angels’ proclamation the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:15 (ESV) The shepherds’ witness has been recorded for us that we might know and believe that the Son of God became a lowly child and gave Himself for us. May we each carry that message with us this Christmas season, and may we share it with the world. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! God Bless, – Missionary Pastor Steven Braun
Become a Partner in the Mission: Give securely online at: lcms.org/braun Send checks designated for ‘Braun—Germany Support’ to: The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod P.O. Box 66861 St. Louis, MO, 63166-6861 or to: Mission Central 40718 highway E. 16 Mapleton, IA 51034