As we enter the celebration of the Christ Child, may we all experience the awe and magnitude of his incarnation. In the midst of all the turmoil in our lives that causes uneasiness for what the future holds, we are reminded that by persevering through our faith, we can find the real reason God came to us in the life of Jesus.
Being created in God's image and living as adopted children through Christ, we are innately prepared to change the world with the love that exists in all of us. The previous four Sundays of Advent have set us up to embrace the message of God's love for us through the infant Jesus.
Hope, Peace, Joy and Love are the themes that bring us to the celebration of the Christ child.
They are also the focus of our ongoing anticipation of Christ's return.
But as we have studied and listened through the scriptures and messages brought to us through Advent, are we truly ready and able to understand what this yearly celebration of Christ's birth means for us today? Does celebrating Christmas help us to be more prepared for the next Advent when Christ will come to gather all believers to Himself? These are the questions we must answer for ourselves in our individual journeys through life.
Blessings to all as you celebrate this Christmas with all your heart, mind and soul. Blessings to our wide-eyed children who anticipated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and to all who will see family and friends from near and far. And may those who struggle through this season feel God close to them, especially with memories of loved ones and the good times in their lives.
The build up to Christmas often ends abruptly when all the presents are opened, friends and family return home, and when the daily routine returns. I pray we remember that Christmas last forever in our hearts and spirit, and especially as Episcopalians formally for 12 full days by the Christian calendar. I share this poem and prayer as we get ready to experience the awe of the next few days.
The Work of Christmas Begins
"When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal those broken in spirit,
to feed the hungry,
to release the oppressed,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to make a little music with the heart...
And to radiate the Light of Christ,
every day, in every way, in all that we do and in all that we say.
Then the work of Christmas begins.
-- Howard Thurman,
I leave you with this prayer for Christmas from Robert Louis Stevenson:
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus' sake.
Debbie and I wish all of you, our parish and parish friends a wonderful Christmas and blessed New Year! Fr. David +