Celebrating Jesus Letter From Pastor Wilke (Click here to download the letter and contribution card)
The church has been celebrating Jesus for over fifteen hundred years and not just at Christmas. Every week we gather as the Body of Christ it is a celebration of Jesus; his death, his resurrection and his eventual return. Our celebration is filled with singing, scripture and Sacraments. It is a time to remember and celebrate all that we have been given: forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. There is no greater celebration.
At Christmas time as the weather grows colder our hearts have a tendency to grow warmer with the love of Jesus. We may not feel like celebrating all the time but at Christmas everyone wants to join in and celebrate Jesus. We are filled with joy as we think about God’s wonderful gift to us in the incarnation. That baby Jesus, lying in the manger, fully God and fully man coming to save us from our sins. That is the Christmas celebration; celebrating Jesus is celebrating God’s gift of new life.
Unfortunately, too often the true meaning behind our celebration is replaced with the thoughts of sugar plums dancing in our heads. Programs, concerts, TV specials and gifts have a way of pushing Jesus out of the celebration. Soon after the tree is covered with lights and tinsel and presents are stuffed under the tree, there is no room in the inn of our hearts or homes for the Christ Child. Lost in the giving and receiving of gifts, is a gift for Jesus.
This year we are asking every member of our congregation to make room for Jesus. Find a place in your home and your heart for the baby Jesus. Let the light of Christ be known to the world through your gift giving. In honor of our Lord Jesus and his birth day, Immanuel is Celebrating Jesus. We want you to join the celebration by making special Christmas offerings during the month of December in lieu of or in addition to giving someone a gift. If you and your family have all you need why not use some of your Christmas money to give to the Lord’s church.
We are hoping to raise $200,000 dollars to Celebrate Jesus. We will share these dollars with our community (10%), our youth (10%), and Immanuel Lutheran Christian Academy (10%); and use these special gifts to reduce the projected 2015 cash flow shortfall (70%) with the hope that we will not need to make drastic budget cuts for 2015. We know this sounds extraordinary, but we also believe our God is extraordinary. We believe the Christmas miracle this year will be people giving over and above to the God who gave over and above to us. We believe in the generosity of God’s children and when each of us remembers what God has given up for us, the joy of giving to His Church and its ministries will become more important than receiving. You and I have already received the greatest Christmas gift, the Word becoming Flesh for our sake.
In Celebration of Jesus,
Rev. John Wilke