Advent 2020 | Signs of Christmas

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This will be a sign for you...
Luke 2:12


Signs, signs, everywhere a sign. On Broadway there are iconic signs that line both sides of the street and the back alleys of downtown Fargo. Large illuminated signs, like the Fargo Theatre, the Black Building, and The Forum sign, give off a glow inviting us to become part of the landscape. These signs on Broadway serve as identity markers that help us know where we are and who are neighbors are, in relationship to our sign, First Lutheran Church 619 Broadway.

Downtown-02.jpgSigns give us direction and, in these days, we all could use a stronger sense of direction. Questions loom regarding the direction of our country as it wrestles with the outcome of a Presidential election as well as nervous anticipation for a coronavirus vaccine. Many people have wondered if the struggle and the unrest in our world today may be some kind of cosmic sign pointing us to the end of the world as we know it.

Signs are not new. People have been looking for and interpreting signs since the beginning of time. It is human nature to seek direction and want a place marker to stake our identity. The Bible speaks a great deal about signs; as something unusual that serves to make meaning and prove a truth that was spoken or promised by God.

Some of the signs in Scripture are given to stretch one’s faith. For example, Zechariah in Luke’s gospel asked for a sign because he struggled to believe the angel’s promise that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son in their old age and that this son, would be the forerunner of the Messiah. (Luke 1:1-24) The angel gave a sign to the shepherds. “This will be a sign for you. You will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” Unusual indeed, that the long awaited promise of a Savior would be born in a cattle stall, and yet, this is the sign that we as followers of Jesus, stake our identity upon. This babe wrapped in swaddling cloths is the direction we seek. 

However, we often look for signs in all the wrong places. Truth be told, the sign we most need doesn’t come from Washington or the nightly news. The best news this world has ever received came wrapped in bands of cloth and was laid in a bed of straw. He alone fulfills the prophecy that “the Lord shall give you a sign; a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be Immanuel, God with us.” (Isaiah 7:14)

FARGO B&W 2452342.jpgJesus Christ is the only sign we need to know that God is with us and if God is with us, who or what can stand against us? It is the light of God that shines in the Bethlehem star above a barn and that same light shines in you. God’s love illuminates our lives so that we might become together a beacon of hope on Broadway and beyond, giving off a God-glow in the landscapes where we live, love and lead. Like Jesus, let us use our life to point toward the promised sign of God’s love, “For to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you. You will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 

In this season of uncertainties, may you be certain about the sign of Christmas and hold it forever in your heart.  

The four weeks of Advent are a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ-child. Join us as we turn our hearts and attention to the signs that lead us to the meaning of Christmas. 

Sunday, November 29
Signs of HOPE in our uncertainty
Isaiah 35:1-10

Sunday, December 6
Signs of PEACE in our struggles
Isaiah 2:1-5

Sunday, December 13
Signs of JOY in our discouragement
Isaiah 40:1-11

Sunday, December 20
Signs of LOVE in our differences
Isaiah 11: 1-10

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