Bishop Rhyne's Christmas Greeting

Dear Friends,

May God be with you as we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

I hope you are blessed to be with family and friends.
I pray that you know the great love of our Lord and Savior Jesus. You matter to God. You are loved by Jesus more than you can ever know. As we gather, we celebrate this great love of God that has come to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It amazes me that with his birth, Jesus came to a place the world would never expect. Holy Scripture said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. But what was Bethlehem? It was a tiny village in the literal backwater of the great Roman Empire—the last place anyone would think to look for the King of kings and Lord of lords. Kings are usually born in palaces, not in a cattle shed in a town the rest of the world didn’t know.

Jesus comes to us exactly where the world wouldn’t expect him to show us that God works in ways beyond our expectation. God is in the business of surpassing our expectation and what we think is possible.

That same God in Jesus Christ is with us in the Allegheny Synod. That same Jesus is with us as we go forth in our lives. God has done the unexpected and amazing thing of not just coming into this world but claiming ordinary people like you and me and calling us to be a part of the eternal life of God. This amazing and unexpected God is calling you and me to be instruments of his grace love and mercy.

God is working in and through you and me. I see over and over the ways that the power of the Holy Spirit is at work through you. God is using you to care for the hungry, clothe the needy, send warmth and comfort to the hurting, and reach out to care for those stricken by natural disaster. Jesus is here in the Allegheny Synod.

As we move through this Christmas season, I invite you to take stock of this year and see how God has blessed you to be a blessing for others.

As we look to 2018, I invite you to join me in listening for where the Holy Spirit might be urging us to move forward in love and service. Jesus is alive and at work here in the heart of central Pennsylvania. He will amaze us with what he can and will do with us.

Merry Christmas

+Bishop Michael Rhyne

Allegheny Synod, ELCA