Merry Christmas!

 

I come from a long line of baby-fanatics.  I remember as a child when my family would visit my grandparents in Pennsylvania, my grandfather would be the first to greet our car as it pulled onto their property. Pop-pop would then head straight for the newest baby in the family and hold onto that child as if he’d just found the winning lotto ticket!  I have this memory etched in my mind of Pop-pop sitting on one of the porch swings with a baby nestled in his arms as he rocked and rocked and rocked.

I seem to take after my grandfather – as does my Mom and all six of my sisters and brothers – we dig babies!  We think we do our best work with babies.  When all twelve of my nieces and nephews were infants I would drop in on my siblings in the evening and ask if I could give the baby their final bottle of the day.  No matter what had happened in my day – the death of a parishioner, a difficult pastoral situation, a challenging staffing issue, a disgruntled donor – while holding that child the weight of the day just seemed to lighten with each rock of the rocker.

A baby in my life – and perhaps in your life as well –  is a gift.  And I’m guessing that is exactly what Mary and Joseph thought … what the shepherds thought … what the heavenly hosts thought …. and what the traveling kings thought. That this baby in their midst was indeed a great gift, the greatest gift they’d ever been given.

For unto them a child had been born.  Not just any child, but The Child.  The One Who had come to set them free.  The One all of the prophets said would come.

The prophet Isaiah said, “The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light, those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.”

The people of Palestine heard those words 2,000 years ago, and we still hear those words today:

  • Christ came to shine light into the brokenness of our heart.
  • He came to shine light into the darkness of cancer.
  • He came to shine light into our financial difficulties and our joblessness.
  • He came to shine light into the difficult and challenging parts of our day.

There isn’t a single portion of our lives Christ didn’t come to shine light upon – and how fortunate are we?!

These words were spoken long ago to a people living in fear, anxiety, and despair …. people feeling insecure, unsafe and living with a profound lack of what they perceived as the presence of God in their lives.  On Christmas morning we hear these words again remembering they were first spoken thousands of years before.  People today, just as those 2,000 years ago, want – and need –  to know that Light is possible in darkness.

The birth we celebrate this day is a birth meant for the whole world, which sometimes feels mired in darkness.

  • The events in Newtown, Connecticut made us all feel mired in darkness.
  • People in Sierra Leone feel mired in darkness under a corrupt regime.
  • People in Afghanistan feel mired in darkness under maniacal terrorists.
  • People who lost everything when storms blew through their lives know this darkness.
  • As do the people who live behind prison bars. Those who live in chronic poverty. Those who are here in the United States illegally and fear for their lives and families.

There’s still plenty of darkness to go around, but this is when Christ’s Light can most easily be seen. When it is the most dark  … when our souls are most in despair  …  when we think we simply can’t put one more foot in front of the other …  Christ The Light is there.

It is my sincere prayer that this Christmas we all experience Christ The Light and allow Christ to give us the kind of life He always hoped we would have.  A life filled with purpose.  A life filled with wholeness.  A life filled with peace, joy and love.  May each and every one of us take Christ’s light out into the world and help bring a little bit of His light into the lives of those we meet each day.

If your schedules allow, please consider joining us as we celebrate the Birth of Christ Our Light here at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.  Our Services are:

Christmas Eve Pageant – 4:30 p.m.

Christmas Eve Vigil – 10:00 p.m.

Christmas Day Service – 10:30 a.m.

Hope to see you here.

Merry Christmas, everyone.  Please keep me in your prayers and know that you are in mine as well.

Peace, peace and more peace,

Chuck

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2 Comments

  • Yvonne Beck says:

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Mark Kelliher says:

    Dear Rev earned Chuck:

    After years away from church, you helped me find this Light of the World.
    You remain in my special prayers. I am glad & rejoice! God with us, what a wonderful gift.
    Fondly,
    Mark Kelliher

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