Dear Parish Family,
God came to a world such as ours so that we might have forgiveness, reconciliations and hope; Life in its fullness. A simple statement but one which becomes more real and challenging each day. The world’s chaos has come to our doorsteps. Political upheaval and unrest, the ever-growing distance between the have-and-have-nots, the subtle and not so subtle dividing of people into race and clan, all are making the Birth Narratives more real each day. Gone are the days when we could just gloss over the “hard” details of the world Jesus was born into. Now you would have to turn off the news and never read a newspaper to maintain that “soft” pastoral vision of the world. It would not surprise me if there is a heightened emphasis on Santa Clause this year to counter this new reality. The world has even taken the work of a Saint who assisted the poor and made it a temporal day of excess. Yet this is the very world Jesus Christ came to. This world could not and can not save itself. That is the work of God.
So, amid all the darkness and chaos all around us, what do we celebrate? God is here! “Emmanuel, God with us.” Not to feed superiority, pride, and self-centered separation but to give us hope. Hope which empowers us to live faithfully in THIS world. A faith that believes in the power of simple acts of faith to heal the world. The common act of having a baby began a life which changed the world. When the political world thought that they could silence this peacemaker-healer and his message by killing him, the message changed the world. So what are we celebrating? God’s grace and the Spirit’s power to give us peace in the midst of chaos, power to love in a world full of hate, healing and reconciliation in a world driven by selfishness and greed, and the affirmation of our hope that even the smallest act of faithfulness can make all this visible to those who so desperately seek these things.
Throughout Advent we hear this exhortation:
“Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5:16
May God give us the courage to live these words and faithfully proclaim the message the shepherds, Magi, Simeon and Anna shared with their world – God’s good news of salvation for all.
God bless us, everyone
The Reverend Canon David Warren