Great popular excitement over those who are fifth and sixth in line for the British throne—Prince William’s now expected third child and the now-engaged Prince Harry—contrasts well to a general lack of such excitement over the comings of a far-more-distant Descendant of King David and His Kingdom, as I pointed out in my sermon on the First Sunday of Advent’s Gospel Reading of Mark 11:1-11, Jesus’s entering Jerusalem to die. In the days after that sermon, a friend drew my attention to a similarly-themed 2010 country song sung by Becky Kelley that considered people at the mall’s standing in line to see Santa and asked, “Where’s the line to see Jesus?”
In our part of the world, country, and state, we may get lines of cars at a drive-through Nativity weeks before the celebration of Jesus’s birth, but, even here, on the Day of that birth, we are unlikely to have at the Communion Rail a line of those seeking to receive the forgiveness of sins by receiving the same Body and Blood born of the Virgin Mary and sacrificed on the cross for our sins (if there is a Christmas Day Communion Service at all!)
The Bible tells us that a few shepherds came, if not lined up, to see Jesus the night of His birth (Luke 2:8-19), but some Bible commentators debate just how big of an event Jesus’s coming into Jerusalem to die really was. Of course, neither the number of people seeking Jesus then or now validates Him as the Savior. Theological truth is not determined by popularity or opinion poll!
Sinners by nature and in actuality, we all need the forgiveness of sins and so also the life and salvation that God freely offers us through the reading and preaching of His Word and its sacramental administration in Holy Baptism, individual Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. Felt or not, we have that need not only in the Christmas and Advent seasons but all year, and God graciously offers to meet that need every time the doors of churches such as Pilgrim are open.
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.