From the Pastor . . .

They Grow Up So Fast . . .

Parents often say that about their children. They grow up so fast. And it's true! I can attest to that fact, now being a parent for twenty years. (Wow, has it really been that long? See what I mean? Fast!) I still remember holding each of my children in my arms in the hospital, their little eyes looking up at me. It's something you never forget.

Well, it happens in Church also, and it happens every year. It seems like Christmas is hardly over, the decorations in my home not even all down yet, and we're already hearing about Jesus being baptized and beginning His public ministry, and I'm already planning Lenten services. Jesus grows up so fast!

But this is all good. While I remember how my children were when they were little and sometimes I think how nice it would be to relive some of those memories when I look at the old photos, it is also a joy to see how they are growing up and what they are becoming. It's a new phase to be sure, but with new joys and possibilities.

And so it is with Jesus. It would perhaps be nice if we knew more of His childhood, but there are new joys coming with the seasons of Lent and Easter - greater joys! For this is the reason for His birth, that He lay down His life for you and me and for the life of the world. So once we celebrate His birth, the Church moves quickly to the cross, and with the seasons of Lent and Easter, spends a full 25% of the year celebrating Jesus' death and resurrection!

And doing so brings us full circle, because Jesus' death and resurrection is how we are born again, born from above, as children of God in Holy Baptism, as we die and rise with Jesus in those waters. And while that is a day most of us do not remember, because we were but infants - it is a day our Lord never forgets.

So while sometimes the Lenten season is thought of as a "downer," with its penitential focus, it is anything but! It is just growth, as we grow in the Word, grow in our Lord, and grow in His forgiveness and life. Different? Yes. Joyous? Yes. Want to go back? Never! For we are moving forward with Jesus to a new life, which has no end. This life goes by so quickly, but soon the day is coming when newborn into eternity, we will look up to our Father with our eyes, risen from the dead, with joy. And we'll see Him looking at us the same way.

Happy Lent!

Pastor Douthwaite

Missouri Synod
114 Kingsley Road SW, Vienna, VA  22180
Rev. James Douthwaite, Pastor
Saint Athanasius Lutheran Church