Keeping it Simple in Advent

The biblical story of Christ's birth is quite simple.  There's the journey to Bethlehem where there was no room in the inn.  Then there's the offer of a stable to the pregnant Mary and Joseph.  When the time comes for Jesus to be born, his warm body is wrapped in cloths and laid in a manger used for holding hay for the feeding of cows.  Beyond that, of course, is the coming of the shepherds and then the wise men and eventually the voice of an angel telling Joseph to head off to Egypt because King Herod is plotting to kill the newly born Jesus.  And so, off they go into hiding.
None of us need to head off into hiding except, perhaps, from ourselves and our excesses in celebrating Christmas.  We have already gone through the heated run-up to Christmas as stores opened at 4 am to lines of people seeking the best deal.  Some of us are holding invitations to several holiday parties and events and are wondering how to fit it all in.  But it need not be that way.
Instead of throwing your life into hyper-drive, consider the run-up to Christmas (the church calls it Advent) as a time for personal renewal instead of exhaustion.  Do the shopping and partying but keep it all in perspective.  Set your mind on the Christ whose birth we are celebrating.  See the faces of your loved ones and recognize that an expensive, unaffordable gift isn't going to make your love for them or theirs for you any stronger.
Remember, Christ came to save not to exhaust.  He came to free not to enslave you to a credit card balance you can't afford.  He came... and because he did... we have the chance to live a life of hope and joy.
May you and yours have a blessed Season of Advent!
Hope to see you at church!

Pastor David Wrightsman

 It is with great joy and anticipation as I come to serve Living Waters Lutheran Church in Lino Lakes as your new interim pastor. Thank you for the kindness that you have already extended to me since meeting several of you this month.  I am humbled to serve with you and ask for your prayers as we together seek God's mission and ministry in the months ahead.

 I live in Stillwater along with my wife, Lauren, and three teenage children: Carolyn 18 (a first-year student at Luther College in Decorah, IA), Benjamin 16 and Adelee 14, both students at Stillwater High school.  My wife Lauren is also a pastor and serves at Roseville Lutheran Church in Roseville. 

 I have served the church in the Twin Cities for the past 29 years in a variety of ways; as urban youth worker, teacher, community partnership builder, campus ministry, interim pastor and as pastor.  I have worked in the urban, campus, small town and suburban ministry settings.  Along with serving as part-time interim pastor at Living Waters, I also serve during the academic year at Augsburg University in campus ministry.