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Pastor Corner

Amid the hustle and bustle of the biggest shopping season of the year comes the cry of the Church: “keep Christ in Christmas!” We do well to remember and remind our neighbors (and ourselves) of the “reason for the season.” Tinsel, trees, lights, presents, and eggnog are all fine and dandy. There’s nothing wrong with a little celebration — but just keep in mind why we are celebrating. The slogan, “keep Christ in Christmas” helps us do this.

The season of Lent is a time of preparation for the Feast
Of  the Resurrection, Easter. It is a penitential season, which
means that, historically, it has been marked by an increase of
fasting and prayer by individual Christians. These things are
done with the goal of trying to mortify the flesh, that is, squelch
sinful habits and desires as well as bring to remembrance our
dependence on God. The reasoning for doing these things, of
course, comes from the Scriptures: our Lord himself told his
disciples that prayer was the first defense against temptation (Mt
26:41) and fasting from food and drink reminds us that “Man
does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from
the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4, Dt 8:3). That is, willingly abstaining
for a time from eating and drinking — whether it be certain foods
and drinks for a period of days or weeks, or all food and drink for
a period of hours or days — forces us to remember that our
bodies need these things to survive, and that they are ultimately
provided not by ShopRite, the free market, or the Federal
Government but by the Lord. He is the One who gives us our
daily bread, and fasting helps us, through hunger and thirst, to
think about our need for food and drink as well as our need for,
God who gives them to us.

Now, while there is no command about what to give up
and for how long, I would encourage each of you this Lent to
give at least one thing up — especially if it is something you truly
enjoy. The more you like something, the more you will notice its
absence from your life, and perhaps even you will realize your
dependence on it. Also, in addition to fasting, make sure to pray.
Try to get into a habit of daily prayer on top of what you
normally do during the rest of the year. Pray for your church
family, pray for the lost, and pray that God would preserve you in
the faith of our Lord, Jesus Christ, whose blessed Passion and
glorious Resurrection we now prepare for.

Your Servant in Him,
Pastor Uphoff