Certainly most everyone in our community has heard about the battle that has been waged to take down the star and cross from La Crescent’s sky line. Of course the battle is about city property displaying religious symbols. Unfortunately, we know the story oh, so well in our society today, the removal of everything that has to do with God. And this issue has many in La Crescent upset. It’s upsetting because the battle really isn’t coming from within the community but from those who know not and care not about the people of this community.

With that being said, and I don’t want to dwell on the politics of the issue, I wonder why the people of La Crescent want the Christmas Star and Jesus’ Sacrificial Cross displayed. I would like you to ask yourself that question. Because they are but mere symbols if there isn’t lives of faith to validate the light on a hillside.

There are many who are ready to go to battle over this issue of the symbols of the Savior, but are those same people making sure that they are reading and hearing the Word of their Savior, that is the Bible? They will stand up against those who are opposed to our freedoms, but will they stand up to society on behalf of the Word of God? Maybe even more rare, will they stand up to their neighbors, family, and friends that live apart from the Word and say, “Thus sayeth the Lord”?

Are they willing to say that God’s Word doesn’t change with society or culture, that sin of two thousand years ago is still the same sin today? For Isaiah 40:8 says, The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.  Will they stand up for their Savior who says that there is but one way to heaven and it is through Jesus? Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Will they themselves excuse their own sins to the blame of someone or something else or use grace as a license to indulge in sin? As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 6:1,2 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t fight to keep the star and cross lit. But this is an opportunity to consider Jesus words, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. John 8:31   We may be battling for our right to display our faith, but have we been fighting the good fight of faith? I believe everyone will be convicted as we consider the weakness of our own sinful nature. We fall short every day to display our faith in our Savior as we should. And we deserve not the blessings of God, but his wrath over sin. But that is not what we have received. Our gracious God gave us Jesus who never faltered in holding to and defending the Word. Our gracious God gave us Jesus to die for all the times we fell short, or even outwardly showed ourselves opposed to him and his Word.

That is why you and I want the star and cross to be displayed. They are pictures of the truth, reminders that Jesus came into the world as one of us on Christmas to live under God’s Law in our place. They are reminders that Jesus died in our place, suffered our death and hell, to be punished for sin, instead of God punishing us. It is an illustration on the hill that we have been saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

And that is why these symbols should not be taken down. But even if they were, and God forbid we live in a time of persecution for the symbols we display, we can do more to share Jesus with others by the way we live, and how we stand up for God’s Word in our families and community. It’s not so much about the symbol on the hill as it is the witness of your life. And that is why Jesus said, “...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Shine as you Keep Christ First!

Pastor Chris Christenson

First Lutheran, La Crescent