From the Bishop: Christmas 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.
+ Bishop Barker