Pulpit Reflections By the Rev. Barbara Stroud Borth One of my favorite Christmas stories is the movie It's A Wonderful Life. George Bailey was always helping others and defending people in need. Some time before he was 40, he had run into rough times and was planning to take his own life. An angel allowed him to see what life in his community would have been like if he had never been born. He was amazed and reminded how valuable life was to him.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, try to imagine what these last 2,000 years would have been like if Jesus had not been born. Think of the many acts of compassion and actions for God's justice have been done in the name of Jesus, because of his love and example. As we look back, Christians must also be honest about the fact that sometimes unloving things have been done, even wars, like the Crusades, have been fought by people who were misunderstanding what Jesus would really have wanted them and us to do. Jesus was born to save us � to reconcile sinful human beings to God, to be the essence of forgiveness, and He expects us to share that forgiveness with others.
At this time of Jesus' birth, let us give thanks most deeply that Jesus was born, that he lived to be a teacher, a healer, one who cared for the people others would cast out, that he was crucified and then was raised from the dead. As one of our Christmas carols says, "He is risen with healing in his wings."
I also give sincere and deep thanks for all of the people I have come to know in the six and a half years I have served the Bergen Lutheran Church in Clay County and the Gayville Lutheran Church in Yankton County. With God's guidance, I have accepted a call to be the pastor of the Garfield Lutheran Church in Lac qui Parle County, Garfield Township, in rural Madison, MN. I will complete my calling here at the end of January and move sometime in February. I hope there will be a chance to have a farewell visit with many of you before I leave. I am eager to go to a new challenge, but at the same time I am sad to leave South Dakota and the people of this area. I am truly grateful for you. You have touched me; I have grown.