We celebrated a lovely Blue Christmas service last night. The church was full of candlelight and prayers and hope. I find it one of the most tender and meaningful services of the year. It is when I am privileged to learn about the hurts and challenges of many of you so that I may stand with you in love and prayer, and it is when I myself may lay before God the burdens of my heart. It is a reminder to us all that we do not need to bear our challenges alone.
Christmas is not just about adoring a baby in a stable, even if he is as cute as a bug’s ear! It is recognizing that God loves us, God loves YOU, enough to, as the hymn goes, “take on frail flesh and die.” Jesus knows what you are going through because he has been there too.
I will conclude with a few sentences about the meaning of the incarnation by the great Episcopal writer, Madeleine L’Engle. She writes, “I do not want to explain the Gospels; I want to enjoy them. … This does not mean that story deals only with cheeriness, but that beneath the reality of life is the rock of faith. I ask God to set me upon a rock that is higher than I so that I may be able to see more clearly, see the tragedy and the joy and sometimes the dull slogging along of life with an assurance that not only is there rock under my feet, but that God made the rock and you and me, and is concerned with Creation, every galaxy, every atom and subatomic particle. Matter matters. This is the promise of the Incarnation. Christ put on human matter, [because] what happens to us is of eternal, cosmic importance.”
You are very dear to me and to God in Christ.