Home > A Christmas Message from Bishop Selbo

Dear Pastors, Congregations, Partners in Ministry, Sisters and Brothers in Christ, 

 

Greetings in the Name of our God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—as we look forward to the celebration of our Lord’s birth at Christmas and His glorious return when the Father will call us all home to be with Him forever!  

Thank you for your good and faithful ministry and for your partnership in the work of the Gospel. It is my deepest and most sincere desire and prayer that this Christmas season will be one in which the love shown to us so clearly in the birth of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, will be at the center of the proclamation we offer and the witness we give to a world. 

With every passing year, rather than the story of our Lord’s birth becoming more familiar, I find myself being struck more intensely by its significance. The divine became human. The infinite became finite. The eternal became temporal. Not only that, but our broken relationship with God was repaired. It was restored in the person and work of Jesus, put back together and made right when Jesus became one of us and walked the path of the cross. 

I am not yet convinced that we can fully understand all of what that means. I am convinced that we can be assured of what has been done for us in Jesus. That’s the good news. That’s what Christmas is all about. And that’s why we need to speak with clarity and conviction of the love revealed to us in Jesus Christ, so that the world for which He gave His life might come to believe. 

One of the most basic and fundamental needs we have in this life is to be loved. From the moment we are born until the day when we leave this world, to love and to be loved is central to how we were created. It’s basic to what our life on this earth is all about. It keeps us going. It tells us that we matter. It says to us that we belong and that our life on this earth really counts. 

When God came into this world in the person of Jesus, it was God’s way of declaring that we are loved and will always be loved by Him. It’s the very reason Jesus was born as a baby. It’s the motivation in the heart of God behind the entire Christmas event. 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” Christmas is God’s declaration that we do matter, that our lives on this earth really do count, and that no matter what else might happen in this life, there is always and forever a reason to live. 

One of my seminary professors was Dr. Gerhard Forde. He was a good teacher. He kept the focus of his lectures on Jesus. No matter what direction the theological conversation went, he continually brought it back to Christ. 

One of the books he wrote was titled, Where God Meets Man. The subtitle was, “A Down To Earth Approach to The Gospel.” It was a study about how the story of Jesus is the story of God coming down to earth to give us what we need. And He did it not by sending someone else on His behalf, but by becoming what we need in Himself. 

I would imagine that if you were to think back on all the Christmas gifts you have received over the years, the ones that would stand out the most would be the ones with the most personal touch. Christmas is the story of God’s love for us. It’s the story of God’s individual and personal love for you and for me. And it’s not love wrapped in a package. It’s love found in a person. It’s not a gift placed under a tree, waiting to be opened when the time is right. It’s love placed in a manger, working to make right a relationship that had gone wrong. 

“You will call His name Jesus,” the angel said, “for He will save His people from their sins.” And so, it was. And so, He did. And so, we celebrate that good news again this year. 

Where does God meet man? He meets us in our sin. He comes to us where we are. He forgives us and He loves us, and He promises to never leave. 

As I consider the turmoil in which our world is currently found, the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, the tension among nations that seems to be increasing with each passing day, as well as the division that exists within our own nations, to say nothing of the brokenness found in many homes and communities throughout North America and beyond, I cannot help but believe that the answer to this world’s turmoil was offered to us in the coming of Jesus.  

Our task, as His followers, is to point the world toward Him. Beginning in our families and our churches, from there into the relationships we have with our neighbors and co-workers and in our schools, and from there into the surrounding communities and beyond. There is no better remedy to the troubles we face in this life than to face those troubles with the remedy given to us two thousand years ago in the person and work of Christ. 

Will we ever fully comprehend what that saving event was all about? Probably not, at least not this side of the grave. But that doesn’t matter, because it does not depend upon how much we understand but solely upon what He has done. 

God’s love, down to earth. That’s what you have been given. Where God meets man. In our sin. At Christmas. In Jesus Christ. 

Thank you for your faithful witness. Thank you for the partnership we share in Christ. Thank you for the love you share and the witness you offer, pointing people to the love of God revealed to us in Jesus. 

It continues to be a joy and an honor to serve as your bishop. Know that my prayers are with each of you. Have a blessed and a love-filled Christmas! 

In Christ,
Bishop Dan