Christmas Greetings from ABR

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Excerpt The Christmas season brings many memories and emotions to our hearts, as we draw from life’s experiences reflections of past joys and sorrows. My childhood was filled with magical memories of Christmas with my 4 brothers, and even as there were painful experiences along the way, there was always a true happiness to the season... Continue reading

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When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us. And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:15-16

Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel.” – Jeremiah 7:12


Dear Friend of ABR,

The Christmas season brings many memories and emotions to our hearts, as we draw from life’s experiences reflections of past joys and sorrows. My childhood was filled with magical memories of Christmas with my 4 brothers, and even as there were painful experiences along the way, there was always a true happiness to the season. In childhood, Christmas meant we would see our extended family; it meant colorful lights, scrumptious food, and toys under the tree!

For those who are reading this brief letter, who in their life may have experienced trouble and heartache at this time of year, there is one memory that should always lift our hearts with joy: Jesus, God’s precious gift, came into the world so that we would see and experience His wonderful grace and love. I would not trade this truth, which is the greatest joy, for any of my fleeting childhood memories, as wonderful as many of those memories are to me. When Jesus was birthed in my heart at 16 years old, all that I thought I understood was meaningful, important, and joyful at Christmas, was transformed by the real meaning and message of Christmas: the incarnation of the Son of God.

As I reflected on what to share with the ABR family in this, my annual Christmas letter, the Lord opened my heart to compare two verses in Scripture that reveal His work and His ways. When the Lord opened the door for ABR to begin our dig at the biblical city of Shiloh earlier this year He drew our hearts to a powerful verse, Jeremiah 7:12, quoted above. This Scripture is God’s declaration and appeal to “go…and see” what He had done to strongly discipline His people Israel for their idolatry and open disobedience. At Shiloh, at the place where He made His Name dwell at first, where the tabernacle stood, He brought a public and lasting display of His judgement, testifying to the reality of His unchanging holiness. In utter humility, ABR has been called to be those who will, layer by layer, “go…and see” this testimony in the soil and rocks, a testimony that speaks of God’s righteousness and truth.

But another verse, one we oft quote at the Christmas season, came into focus as I reflected on God’s word concerning Shiloh. In Luke’s account of the angelic announcement of the Savior’s birth to those first-century shepherds, we observe similar language to that in Jeremiah 7:12…but with a few profoundly important differences. Here, after the angelic announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds, they exhort one another, saying, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened…” It became clear to me that the Lord wants His people to see and know that all His judgements are right and true, but also, that His mercy is great, and He has made a way to restore and rescue His erring people. At Christmas, we are reminded of this powerful truth by beholding the humble Christ-child in the manger, Jesus the Savior. He came so that our sins would be removed “as far as the east is from the west,” so that there would be no record of wrongs, and no condemnation any longer.

As you ponder on your own memories of Christmas, both the joyful and the painful, please hear the call of the God of hope, and reflect on all He has done for you. May we all go and see afresh what God has done for us in Jesus Christ and be filled with the true joy and true peace of this holy season.

As I conclude this heartfelt correspondence, I would ask that you keep ABR in mind in your year-end giving plans. We are asking the Lord to help us overtake our current deficit (about $12,000), and strongly move us into 2018 on sound fiscal ground. This is normal for this time of year, but we want to keep the realities of our needs before you so that you may respond as the Lord leads you.

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The ministry of ABR is all about helping people to open their hearts to God’s word, and to experience the saving presence and power of Jesus Christ by faith. Our work at Shiloh, our ongoing research, writing, and speaking ministries, are made possible because of your prayers and support. Thank you for remembering ABR at this important time of year.

On behalf of the ABR Board and Staff, I wish you a very blessed Christmas, and a very happy and peace-filled New Year.

Celebrating our Savior’s Birth,

Scott Lanser
ABR Director

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