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Christmas Letter 2014

Christmas, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May the grace and peace of God’s Word, made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth, be with you!

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I am always amazed at how the season of Christmas, more than any other liturgical season in the Church year, has produced such memorable hymnody and carols, from the ancient and medieval texts to modern and contemporary texts.  Each carol speaks of the mystery we celebrate.  God loves the world so much and desires to redeem us that he sent his own Son, Jesus, born of our sister, Mary and parented as well by our brother, Joseph.

Each year, at this time, I try to focus my prayer and reflection on one carol or hymn.  I’d like to share these words of the carol I’m centering on this Advent and Christmas.  It was written by Chris Rice in 1995, entitled Welcome to Our World.

             Tears are falling, hearts are breaking

            How we need to hear from God

            You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting

            Welcome Holy Child.

 

            Hope that you don’t mind our manger,

            How I wish we would have known,

            But long awaited Holy Stranger,

            Make yourself at home,

 

            Bring your peace into our violence,

            Bid our hungry souls be filled,

            Word now breaking Heaven’s silence,

            Welcome to our world.

 

            Fragile finger sent to heal us,

            Tender brow prepared for thorn,

            Tiny heart whose blood will save us,

            Unto us is born.

 

            So wrap our injured flesh around you,

            Breathe our air and walk our sod,

            Rob our sin and make us holy,

            Perfect Son of God.

 

The text of this carol focuses our attention on mystery of God becoming one of us, coming into the midst of our fears and hopes, into our violence and darkness with the promise and power of peace and forgiveness, the Holy Stranger, wrapped in our injured flesh…Welcome to our world!  I encourage you to choose a hymn to focus on during these last days of Advent as we prepare for Christmas.  Begin and end your day by singing or praying it.  I have found that it helps me to center in on some key images and ideas in preparing for Christmas.

Our Christmas Season Service schedule is:

Christmas Eve       5 p.m.                                   Children’s Pageant with Holy Eucharist

                               10 p.m.                                 Service of Carols

                               10:30 p.m.                            Christmas Choral Eucharist

 Christmas Day      9 a.m.                                   Christmas Eucharist

 

You will find envelopes for Memorial Flowers or Music on the table in the Church entryway.  If you would like to give an offering in memory or thanksgiving, please fill out the envelope and place in the Offering Basin or mail it back to the Parish Office no later than Sunday, 21 December.

Be assured of my continuing prayer and gratitude for the privilege of ministering among you.  May Christ, whose coming we await, find a place of welcome in you this Christmas!

Faithfully,

Doug

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