When I went on my sabbatical the summer before last, I visited the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. I picked up their magazine which told the story of Martin Guitars -- founded in 1833. This is what it said:
There are ways in which its founding is like something from the storybooks: God-featuring Moravians, road-weary and navigating by the stars, arriving on Christmas Eve to find the city of Bethlehem - and later Nazareth. C.F. Martin, once a luthier's apprentice, making the exodus from Austria to New York City and then to Pennsylvania.... But if the morning news ever gets you low and lonesome over the worries and affairs of this world, do yourself a favor and follow a star to the old Moravian hill country of Pennsylvania. Slouch toward Bethlehem, Pa., and then Nazareth, Pa., and take a tour of a guitar factory where folks still whistle while they work. . .
As we begin the season of Advent, we may also feel "road-weary" or "low and lonesome over the affairs of this world."
If so, Advent invites us to symbolically "follow a star" toward Bethlehem - the original one where Jesus was born. It will not be a "factory where folks still whistle while they work" like Santa's workshop. Instead we will find a quiet stable and a child surrounded by those who adore him as the coming Savior who will one day set things right in our world. So, come this Sunday as we begin a new series of messages: "The Four Love Stories of Christmas."
I also want to invite you to join us every Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Small Dining Room across from The Great Hall for a discussion-oriented Bible Study in which we will look at these stories in more depth. And join us this and every Sunday at 10:00 a.m., also in the Small Dining Room, as Neal Kuhlhorst and I co-lead a discussion of "The History of Christianity." I think you will be glad you came!