Proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ
From the Bishop: Christmas 2018

December 20th, 2018


My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ –

We are just days away from our celebration of Christ’s Nativity and the twelve-day feast that falls between Christmas Day and The Epiphany.  I can well imagine the busyness, excitement, and stress of all your lives over the course of the coming days.  For both clergy and lay folks alike, there are parties to plan, gifts to purchase, meals to cook, innumerable errands to run … and friends, family, and neighbors for whom to care.  These are without a doubt among the most hectic days of the year, and it can be a challenge to stay attentive in the midst of the demands of the season, to the presence of the person whose miraculous birth all this activity is meant to celebrate.

The fact is that Christ has come and will come again.  Our attention to that truth in this season is not only the best focus for all this activity, but our best hope for deepening our relationship with God and leading the kind of joyful and loving lives we’re invited to model as followers of Jesus.  My friend Phileena Heuertz recently wrote a fine book on prayer and spiritual practice called Mindful Silence.  Phileena writes in part:

God can only be experienced in the here and now.  Divinity is in the flow of love.  [And] learning how to open to and be receptive to the flow of love is how change and liberation comes about in a person’s life.

Christmas is our celebration of God breaking into our experience of the here and now.  And wonderfully, what we come to see and know in the person of Jesus is that when divinity shows up to us, it is love – not judgment – that is unleashed into the world and our lives.  In the person of Jesus, God not only shows and shares a depth of love for humankind that reaches to and through death, but God invites us right into that same flow of love, by appearing as a human infant, entirely dependent on all of us to be welcomed, nourished, protected and cared for.

I pray that the here and now of your Christmas celebration might be richly blessed with an awareness of the God who comes, and in whose life, death and resurrection we all experience the depth of our Creator’s love for us … and the soaring joy of the life of freedom that we have in him.

Merry Christmas!

+ Bishop Barker

Be sure to like us on Facebook, to see even more:

Latest Update

Hail and Farewell – Fr. Jeffrey Nelson (1/3/2019)

Ed. note:  The following letter is from Fr. Jeffrey Nelson, Rector of Church of Our Savior, North Platte. We wish both Fr. Jeffrey and the people of Our Savior Godspeed for this next step in their journeys, and our prayers lift them up in this time of transition.   It is with great joy that.... Read Full Article


Recent Updates

(See Index/Archive at the top right of this page for all articles.)

From the Bishop: Christmas 2018 (12/20/2018)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ –   We are just days away from our celebration of Christ’s Nativity and the twelve-day feast that falls between Christmas Day and The Epiphany.  I can well imagine the busyness, excitement, and stress of all your lives over the course of the.... Read Full Article

Letter to the Episcopal Church from the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies (12/12/2018)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ –   The letter below comes from our Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies.  Your General Convention did significant work around issues relating to clergy sexual misconduct and abuse this summer, and that work continues in the.... Read Full Article

2018 Annual Council Sermon – Bishop Barker (11/2/2018)

Annual Council Scottsbluff & Gering Mark 10:46-52 October 26, 2018 Right Reverend and Dear Friend – I write in October of the year 2018 for the sesquicentennial celebration of the diocese you now serve. This may seem like an impossibly distant past to you – this age of which you.... Read Full Article

From the Bishop: 2018 Annual Council Address (11/2/2018)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ – Grace to you and peace from God our Creator and the holy one, Jesus Christ. Happy Anniversary! This meeting of our Annual Council is the culmination of a year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Diocese of Nebraska. It was 150 years ago this.... Read Full Article

From the Bishop: Easter 2018 (3/31/2018)

Easter Day – Year B And Mary turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was [him.] – From the Gospel According to St. John   I know that you carry a lot of extra stuff with you into the church on Easter morning.  Some of it can seen: fancy […] Read Full Article

Eggplant – The Shape of Empathy (3/30/2018)

*Spoiler Alert: The following contains spoilers for The Shape of Water.*   In this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, one of the more memorable lines was from Pakistani-American comedian (and Best Original Screenplay nominee) Kumail Nanjiani, who in a montage about increasing diversity in.... Read Full Article

Invite*Welcome*Connect – Now What? (3/30/2018)

Invite*Welcome*Connect – Now What? Many congregations participated in the learning of Invite*Welcome*Connect, led by ministry founder and director, Mary Parmer, the first weekend of March.  We generated a plethora of ideas and ideas for our congregations on how to invite people into our midst,.... Read Full Article

Green Sprouts Blog: Wilderness (2/19/2018)

A week ago, those of us who observe Ash Wednesday and want to encourage others to practice those things that give us a holy beginning to Lent were wondering how much of a shadow Valentine’s Day would cast over the beginning of Lent in the greater culture. What would people be thinking about.... Read Full Article

Eggplant – Walking Away with Jesus (2/16/2018)

As an at least somewhat politically aware American, I frequently have thoughts (and come across the thoughts of others) about the relationship between Christianity and the United States of America. One of the most prevalent of these thoughts is the idea that the United States is a “Christian.... Read Full Article

From the Bishop: Lent 2018 (2/15/2018)

When we had kids at home, we used to draw household chores every week.  There were eight jobs in the rotation, each written on a little slip of paper we kept in a basket in the kitchen.  On Saturday mornings, every member of the family would draw two slips of paper out of the basket.  […] Read Full Article

The Day After Another Shooting – The Rev. Benedict Varnum (2/15/2018)

Thursday, February 15, 2018   You have surely heard that yesterday another shooting took place in a school – I’m told the 18th time that has happened so far in the 45 days of 2018, or one every 2 ½ days. The emerging story seems to indicate that a young white man about 19 years […] Read Full Article

Poetry Corner: Blessing the Dust (2/15/2018)

Blessing the Dust   All those days you felt like dust, like dirt, as if all you had to do was turn your face toward the wind and be scattered to the four corners or swept away by the smallest breath as insubstantial— did you not know what the Holy One can do with dust? […] Read Full Article

Exciting News for DioNEB from Br. James Dowd (2/2/2018)

The time has arrived for me to share, with great joy, some important news of my life and vocation with all of you. As many of you know, during these past two years, I have been discerning the direction of my vocation, sensing that God was calling me in a different direction than my community.... Read Full Article

Eggplant – Talking About the Good Life (1/26/2018)

*Spoiler Alert: The following contains spoilers for The Trip trilogy (2010, 2014, 2017, the latter two of which are on Netflix), and The Journey (2016, also on Netflix), although since these aren’t movies one watches for the plot, it won’t hurt you to read this.*   Among the claims of.... Read Full Article

From the Bishop: Ready to March! (1/16/2018)

I am getting ready to march. This Saturday, January 20th, I will join with a group of Nebraska Episcopalians at the Omaha Women’s March. We will be walking and praying together to support the lives, dignity, and callings of women everywhere. My reasons for choosing to march are deeply theological,.... Read Full Article

(See Index/Archive at the top right of this page for all articles.)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email