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Christmas message 2003
May the joy and peace of this Christmas remain with you now and always.

This past June we met in convention to celebrate the theme, Sing to the Lord a New Song. To sing a new song, you have to have something new to sing about.

For us, that is Jesus Christ.

Maybe Jesus Christ doesn't seem like something new to sing about after 2,000 years.

However, it's the world that sings the same old song that if you can just get your head together and remember the right disciplines, you will become successful and in control of your life. The old song is always about doing something by yourself for yourself.

Only Jesus Christ comes to us as a vulnerable one, not promising control and dominance, but joy in God's reign seen through the eyes of trustful following. We do not lead God; God leads us in the person of a little child.


The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11:6

Do we dare be so trusting? Do we dare be so open to such an impossible dream? None was more moved to sing new songs than Martin Luther. Here's what he wrote:

God said to his beloved Son: 'Tis time to have compassion.
Then go, bright jewel of my crown, and bring to all salvation:
From sin and sorrow set them free;
Slay bitter death for them that they
May live with you forever.'

Our world is obsessed with concern for security. Internet spam and pornographic pop-ups invade our private email. Privacy laws, airport checks and security policies speak of the fear that this is not a safe world.

Into that fear we sing a new song of joy and trust.


So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child…glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen…

Luke 2:16-20


May the Christmas gospel encourage you and give you newness of life.

Raymond L. Schultz, National Bishop


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