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Sunday, December 24, 2006 

A Christmas Card

A joyful Advent to everyone! My apologies to all for the lack of posts during the Advent season. My vocation has kept me busy during one of my favorite times of the Church year. I really had intended to do at least a couple of posts on the beautiful hymnody sung, and thereby confessed, during Advent. But vocation being what it is, got in the way of my working on posts. Again, my apologies.

So, instead of a serious post on hymnody, I’ll end the Advent season with a Christmas card. And not just any Christmas card, a Christmas card from my beloved district to yours truly.
I received the card on Monday that read:

The heavens are ablaze as a great company of the heavenly host appear praising God and saying. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to all”
This heavenly announcement sent the shepherds off to see and worship the Savior. And then…they returned to share the Good News.
It is our prayer that as you celebrate these days of God’s coming, you will be blessed with opportunities for worship and sharing. Praise God that He comes to us.
Blessed Christmas,
The Staff

Yes, this little card made my day. The above text is exactly what I received, no edits and no deletions, save my removing which district actually sent it. Notice anything odd?

I got that card too. Sola Scriptura, R.I.P.

I find it very odd that they didn’t capitalize the “A” and forgot the exclamation point. Then, again, since the Jewish shepherds were already awaiting the Messiah, they were therefore, technically, believers. And, since sharing the Good News with believers is not a critical event, the heavens were merely ablaze. I’ve got to hand it to your district; they really know their Ablaze!(TM) doctrine.

Seems to avoid mentioning Jesus Christ, instead prefers the more generic "God".

Also,

It doesn't specify HOW he comes to us (i.e. by Word and Sacrament).

Apparently he just comes.

Peace to all? Or peace to those on whom His favor rests? And how do we get that favor?cy

Mouse, Good call with shepherds not having the opportunity for a critical event. I didn’t catch that. Also, I wasn’t even looking at the fact that the “a” isn’t capitalized. I wouldn’t have been surprised, but that wasn’t I thought was odd.

Preacherboy, First, congrats on the new edition to your family! Second, you’re dead on with your observation that the card seems to lean towards a generic savior. Definitely not what should be sent by a district of our beloved synod. Third, I was recently asked by a critic of this site if I thought that parroting the phrase “Word and Sacrament” might be a little dangerous. Clearly Word and Sacrament are obstacles to the old Adam, the theologian of glory, who wants to meet our Lord on his own terms instead of where our Lord says He will meet us.

David, Excellent question. The card really doesn’t say, does it? Maybe we need to just to listen to more Joel Osteen and “live favor minded.“

Good points everyone! But while all of you are close, nobody has hit the nail on the head yet.

Why don't you just tell us, then?

Preacherboy,
The thing that caught my eye was the “translation” from Luke chapter 2. I looked up every case of Scripture using the word ablaze for the purpose of poking fun at Synod’s program, uh, movement. Never in that research did the word ablaze pop up in the second chapter of Luke, not in any translation I researched. I know I joke around somewhat with Ablaze! but this, I really don’t find all that funny.
Lately my district has been following Rick Warren’s lead and started using multiple translations to make points that are by all accounts a stretch. Pulling verses from this translation and that translation to build up an argument for whatever program is simply wrong. Earlier in the year I heard a circuit counselor praise Eugene Patterson’s The Message as really getting the “flavor” of what Scripture was trying to tell us. Last I looked, The Message’s translation of Scripture is still on my district’s website.
Now, what my district has done with the “verse” on the Christmas card is just fabricate their own translation to promote Synods program, excuse me, movement. I feel that this is actually worse than bad doctrine because they took Scripture and twisted it as a means to an end. As sinful human beings we all do this to some extent. We all want to Scripture and God to conform to our way of thinking. But just because we are all sinful doesn’t excuse the act.
When I emailed my district to inquire about the translation issue I was ignored.
And finally, I’m glad I left the question at the end of the post. Because I was so focused on the translation of Luke, I completely overlook all the great points brought up in the comments, yours included.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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