Pastor Larson’s Corner: Rejoicing in the gift

Pastor Larsons Corner

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Christmas helping my dad at his hardware store. At Christmas time the toy department of the store would triple in size. I would stock shelves, assemble various toys, and set toys up for display. I felt like one of Santa’s elves, and I looked forward to it all year long. My friends considered me the luckiest guy in town. I constantly rejoiced in the fact that my father managed a hardware store.

We have just come through a wonderful season of rejoicing. On the first Sunday in Advent at our church we sang the great Advent hymn, “Joy to the World.” From that day until Christmas day we celebrated and rejoiced in the great good news of God’s coming to earth to live among us. As Mary said to the angel, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Advent and Christmas are seasons of rejoicing. What joy we have, as we celebrate the birth of Christ. What joy we have, as we remember once again the great good news of “peace on earth, good will to all.”

As a child, I had the good fortune at Christmas of working in the toy department of my father’s store, and I rejoiced in it. I also rejoiced in the fact that the manager of the store was my father. It meant that my employment was secure. As recipients of God’s greatest gift at Christmas, we can rejoice in the gift because we know that it also is secure. Our salvation exists because God came to earth as a child in a manger. As we look back upon another Advent and Christmas season and remember this great gift, we give thanks and rejoice for all that we have received.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 9, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.