My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Every week of Advent has a theme and every candle on Advent Wreaths represent those themes. In order, those themes are Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy.
There are four corresponding biblical characters that direct our attention to those themes, deepening our understanding of them; they are the matriarchs and patriarchs, the prophets, John the Baptist, and Blessed Mary. The matriarchs and patriarchs proclaim hope for the future in God’s promised land; the prophets still call us to repentance and peace with God; John baptized in response to love for God’s people; and Mary’s acceptance of God’s will made it possible for the source of all joy to became incarnate in the world. In the Incarnation, God, in the flesh of Jesus, became one with the creation in order to redeem and hallow it – all of it.
As we turn the corner from Advent to Christmas, I keep coming back to something said at one of our Wednesday Soup Suppers “St. Alban’s is in the neighborhood.” It’s the same sense of the message “Emanuel, God is with us.” Christmas declares and celebrates the fact that God is in our neighborhood. By being in our neighborhood our concerns become God’s concerns. Similarly, by being in the neighborhood the concerns of our neighbors become our concerns. Our response to being in the neighborhood makes us part and parcel of Jesus’ ministry – puts us in touch with the mind and heart of Christ.
A prayer we will use this Christmas Eve brings all this together; “because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at this time remember in his name the poor and helpless; the hungry and the oppressed; the sick and those who mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; and all those who know not the Lord Jesus Christ.”
If you would like to make a special seasonal contribution to the ministry and mission of this community of the faithful, an envelope has been included for your convenience.
This Christmas may you know the depths of the blessings God has heaped upon you, and may you, in turn be a vehicle for God’s blessings. May the love of Christ bring you great joy.