(By Thor Knutstad)
Dearest Friends and Family,
Setting the context for the famous passage of Isaiah 53 that describes in detail the prophetic suffering and crucifixion of the LORD Jesus, Isaiah 52:7-10 is a beautiful backdrop for Christmas. Let me “decorate” the setting for you:
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring Good Tidings, who proclaim salvation and say “Your God reigns!” With shouts of joy, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of Joy, for the Lord has comforted His People. The Lord will bare His Holy Arm in the sight of all the nations and all of the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.
For some of you, that may seem like a lot of Old Testament Bible. You may be waiting for key words like Christmas, baby Jesus, family, manger and Bethlehem. But if you look more closely and reread the passage, it doesn’t look so ancient in list form.
Shouts and Songs of Joy
The Salvation of our God
For any of you that have ever read one of my past annual Christmas letters, you know I will always proclaim to you this Good News, or in New Testament terms, The Gospel. The apostle Paul, who once was a murderous persecutor of Christ, made it his mission to tell others about Jesus being the Messiah (the Christ, the Anointed One). He once said that Jesus’ death and resurrection was of First Importance (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). But Easter only follows the Incarnation of Christ Jesus. Incarnation means “in flesh”. It amazes me that we forget the fact that ‘God became flesh in Jesus’ coming as a humble child and selfless servant. The Lord God, who reigns over Heaven and Earth, came to us as a man. In an act of mercy and grace, Jesus shows up to bring salvation – as a humble, loving, despised, suffering man. (Isaiah 53) Creator God lowered Himself to our level, to die for us and save us from sin. (Philippians 2: 1-11) Then he conquered death by rising from death. He rises OVER DEATH; His resurrection – defeating all of sin and death. Victory.
If I had spent the last few paragraphs updating you on our lives, it would not have been a good investment of my words. So I preach and proclaim this Gospel first. As for the Knutstads, we are all well. Early 2014 began with me and Lisa forming our covenant of marriage and bringing together our sons Jordan (20), Bryn (14), Jadon (12) and Elijah (8) into one blended, Christ-following family. As Lisa and I quickly approach a year of marriage soon, we are truly grateful. Our sons really love and enjoy each other and get along very well. Each brings joy to us.
Jordan is diligently working now and serves on a church worship team band as a keyboard player. Bryn will finish 8th grade this year and is an avid lover of hunting and competitive airsoft play, aspiring to be a soldier. Jadon wowed us with straight A’s first marking period and was very successful in both cross country running and soccer. Elijah played soccer too and just had his 2nd grade Christmas concert where he sang with his classmates so confidently. Lisa balances the tremendous task of working from home full-time as a Clinical Data Coordinator with taking care of our home and all of us. Besides being a wonderful wife and mother to all our boys, Lisa also loves on her friends, takes pictures using her gift of photography and serves at Journey Church. As for me (Thor), I continue to serve in ministry as the pastoral counselor to three churches in Limerick (PA), Langhorne (PA) and Vineland (NJ). I am grateful to be entrusted with the hurts, struggles and relationships of so many people.
Life has changed a lot for all of us, but we are thankful to our Lord for our family and friends (YOU!) and we wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2015. May the LORD be known and make Himself KNOWN to you in a whole new way! God bless you dear family and friends as you celebrate the Savior, the LORD Jesus – who has defeated death and will wipe away every tear. What JOY awaits!
With much Love,
Thor, Lisa, Jordan, Bryn, Jadon and Elijah