We are in the midst of Advent, the four weeks leading to our celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. We celebrate that birth on December 25. It could have been another day, because we do not know the actual date of Jesus’ birth. For a very long time the Christian community has chosen this day to remember the gift that God has given to us in the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.
What we celebrate is the amazing wonder of the grace of God in giving his Son to the world—in the incredible life that he lived—and in the marvelous salvation he won for all who will trust in him. Either God created us, or we are here by some inexplicable accident that is without understanding or meaning. Advent, with the celebrations of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, recognizes that God chooses to reveal himself to us that we might believe in him.
Can we get this into our heads and how can we keep it? That the God who created everything wants us to know of him, acknowledge him, worship him, and live according to his will. No wonder that the music of this season surges with such joy! Celebration of the gift that God has given to us in Jesus Christ is worthy of our best. It is possible to be invited to a party to enjoy the company and the food and not realize the party has a purpose. Sadly that is the case of many today who come to the party, but have no idea why they are there!
I am not suggesting that we give up giving gifts to one another. If not overdone, they can be a part of the celebration. But it is a tragedy if Christmas consists in celebrations that we do not understand and indulgences that have nothing beyond them. What we remember and celebrate is too big of a deal for it simply to dissolve into our feasts and festivities!
God is our creator. He is absolutely greater than we are. He not only gives us physical life, he desires to give us eternal life with him. Wholehearted thanksgiving and adoration and worship of God should be at the heart of our Christmas. “For to us a child is born, to us a son if given, and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
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Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note
Dr. Foster H. Shannon has served as pastor of Presbyterian churches in Omaha, Visalia,
San Jose, and Alhambra. He was honorably retired from Alhambra True Light
Presbyterian Church in August, 1998. He served as Interim Pastor for Arcadia
Presbyterian Church from 2000 to 2003. He serves as Interim Pastor for Alhambra True
Light Presbyterian since May, 2011. He continues as President of Green Leaf Press. He
is the author of seven books. His more recent books include. Seven Strong Reasons
Why You Should Believe In Jesus Christ, The Scroll With Seven Seals, and Why Are
These Presbyterian Churches Growing? The Shannons have two children, Doug and
Kathy and three grand children. In addition to hIs enjoyment of being with his wife,
Janis and his family, he enjoys swimming, biking, reading, listening to “good music” and
After receiving his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, Foster Shannon went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. Fosterstarted his book ministry over 30 years ago. He publishes and distributes Christian Books online on The Green Leaf Press, Inc. website: www.gogreenleaf.com. He roots for the CAL Bears and LA Lakers and swims and bicycles weekly.