Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"Celebrate!"- Luke 2:1–20

Some things I will never tire of: good pizza, steaks grilled to perfection, my grandchildren’s laughter, peaceful lakeside evenings, cool mornings in a deer stand—you probably get the idea.  Another thing that I treasure is the account of our Lord Jesus’ birth as recorded by the evangelist Saint Luke.

I sincerely doubt that he was there to witness this signal event, but I’m sure that he had reliable reports of the event. Luke was by trade a physician—a doctor—who was probably well trained in observation and listening techniques. He set the time: the first census taken while Augustus was Roman emperor and Quirinius was the Roman governor of Syria. Luke set the stage by making it clear that Jesus’ earthly parents were little more that displaced persons who were obeying the Roman ruler. Much of the account is plausible: the lack of housing, the rather crude facilities for Jesus’ birth, even the fact of shepherd watching their flock by night. Even the more fantastic parts come down to us (I suspect from first-hand observations and experiences. probably from the babe’s mother Mary and the shepherds).

Why, you may ask, do I treasure this account? Simply put, because this is God’s account of my Savior’s birth. It is the HIS-story of God made flesh and come to seek and save sinners (like me).  It is the fact that “GOD SO LOVGED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON” (John 3:16).  This event is God reaching through time and eternity to redeem you and me from our sin-debt condemnation we have earned by our humanity and many transgressions.  What a wonderful, precious gift God has given us!

Listen to the this reading once more and celebrate:

So, Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son, she wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; her is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to B Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

May we do so, also! Have a blessed Christmas!

"Merry Christmas"- Psalm 89:1–5

It used to be that we would often hear the question, “What are you doing for Christmas? “I suppose this year is or will be a little different—with the pandemic, the election, and so much uncertainty in our lives. Families may (or may not) be visited. Vacations may (or may not) be taken. Gifts may (or may not) be exchanged. (Perhaps you see a theme developing here—a theme of uncertainty, doubt, or even fear.)

For far too many people, I suspect that this will be their holiday observance. I won’t call it a celebration, because it isn’t really. It is a sign of the times. For many people, things have been difficult. Suicides are up. Alcoholism and drug abuse and spousal abuse are up. Civil unrest is rampant.

But the celebration of Christmas, our Lord Jesus’ birth, is at hand! There is still much to celebrate and over which we can and should thank and praise God.

Not the least of these is the gift of God’s Son Jesus Christ, whose humble birth, sinless life, innocent death at the hands of His enemies, and especially His amazing resurrection from His grave and His glorious ascension into heaven to prepare heavenly homes for His followers gives us hope and fills us with joy.

So, we turn to the Psalmist and consider his writing:

1      I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;

        With my mouth, I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.

2      I will declare that your love stands firm forever;

        That you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

3      You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,

        I have sworn to David my servant,

4      I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.

5      The heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,

        Your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.


Have a blessed and happy celebration of Jesus’ birth!  Merry Christmas!

"A Prayer for Restoration"- Psalm 126

We very often like to reminisce about “the good old days.”  We are often tempted to candy coat our memories and make things that were not so nice into things that seemed batter. And sometimes things go the other way. That is, we recall things and they become worse each time we bring them to mind.

Still, those memories can serve us well. They can bring purpose to our activities and hope to our hearts. In a very real sense, I believe this was what the Psalmist experiencing.  He remembered “the good ol’ days.” He recalled God’s providence, protection, and blessing: “The Lord restored the fortunes of Zion.” He continued: “We were like those who dream.” He remembered the laughter, the joy, and the plenty. (See: Psalm 85: 1-3)

The next verse is where the purpose of this Psalm is stated: “Restore our fortunes, O Lord….” The Psalmist was looking for a return of “the good ol’ days.” That is, he was asking God to again bless and protect His people.

This is something we can all relate with, isn’t it? We desire God’s providence and protection, blessings and guidance, especially in these sometimes-trying times and uncertain times. So, we read the final verse in the Psalm: “He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Things may be easy, and they may not get easier but we can draw strength and experience hopes fulfilled in our almighty and all-loving God! This was the Psalmist’s hope. It can be ours, too! In fact, it is our hope and confidence in Christ Jesus and His cross-bought salvation!

We pray: Lord God Almighty, bless us and keep us. Make Your face shine on us and give us Your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.