Dear Family, Friends and Visitors:
Christmas is finally upon us and I praise God that it has come.
Our world, as we come into this Christmas season, is so filled with mistrust, violence, injustice, racism, terrorism and complaining that we have become overwhelmed with the fact there may not be a better way for us to move forward as the human race. And, our fear is that 2017 will only be more of the same. This is a sad commentary on the world and for those of us who believe in the grace of God come down to us in the birth of Jesus. I am reminded that Mary and Joseph were immigrants moving from one place to another and that they were filled with fear as to what the future would bring, especially knowing that they were the protectors of the holy Son of God. The account tells us that the angel in the field, addressing the shepherds, burst into song with the multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"
The prophet Isaiah in Chapter 9 says, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in the land of deep darkness - on them light has shined. . . . .For a child had been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of PEACE." The operative phrase for me is "Prince of peace!" This one brief phrase lifted out of the whole text gives me the insight and hope that there will be "peace" on earth and goodwill to all people. I have come to learn after many years of struggling and growing in my own spiritual journey that peace should be at the heart of all we do as individuals. We are called to live out our faith and belief in "real" time and not think that we must meet some set of rules to attain the heavenly kingdom. Each of us is called to be peacemakers no matter what our religious beliefs may be and if we are not, then I truly believe that God is absent from our faith. The world needs hope and it needs it now. This is why I praise God that Christmas has come. We are assured once again that hope, love and peace is the ultimate plan for us by God. As you read the news or become overwhelmed with multi-media inundating you with fear and trembling remember that God and the birth of his Son Jesus existed long before anyone knew what iPads, iPhones, Twitter or the Internet even was. If the angel can proclaim the miracle of God's love then, the angel can do it again and again and again. If you want to know peace, turn your devices off and get to know your family and neighbors as real people in connection with one another, face to face, and you will once again learn of the depth of love that Jesus has for everyone. Be the change that you so badly hope for and know that God loves us in bad times and good. We are the instruments of peace and that peace begins with us, because it first came to us many years ago from an immigrant family searching for truth. We are all immigrants from somewhere and we must honor that by acknowleding who we are as people and not clones looking at a screen. Pray for peace and love in the world and remember it starts with you! May you have a blessed Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year in the power of the "Prince of Peace."
Priest and Rector