A Christmas Message from the Bishop

A Christmas Message from the Bishop



Dear Friends in Christ:

Grace and peace to you.

Archbishop Rowan Williams describes waiting as "the boring bit before the exciting bit." I hope that your Advent has been more than simply boring; I hope that it has helped to awaken hope for you, a hope that Christmas now comes to fulfill.

These may not seem to be hopeful times. But it is, as the poet reminds us:

"Human beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured.

The innocent in gaols
Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker's father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
Faints at the funeral home.

History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave
But then once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme."

(Seamus Heaney, "The Cure at Troy")

Christmas comes to draw us more deeply into that "once in a lifetime" moment- a moment that requires a lifetime of preparation and unfolding. As Archbishop Williams reminds us, we don't yet really know the difference Jesus might make in our lives and in our world-though we know some of the difference he has made. But have we fully let him in? And how might our lives and our world be different if we did?

My prayer for us this Christmas is that we will actually let Christ more fully into our hearts. If we will do that, what we were created to be and what we are will look a lot more alike. The infant in the manger and the Ruler of the universe will be more the same within us, and our lives will show it. The Light that comes into the world at Christmas will shine everywhere- in the Fergusons and Newtowns, on our borders, in West Africa and in the Holy Land, in the places where we live--because we, like John the Baptist, will bear witness to it. Then God will be all in all. Hope and history will rhyme.

God help us to do that work. God bless you this Christmas.

In Christ,



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