Christmas Letter 2015
How deeply do we long to hear again the good news of the angelic choir: Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth!
As Luke tells the story, it was the shepherds minding their flocks at night that witnessed this magnificent moment. They were told that a Savior, the Messiah, was born this day, and further told to go to Bethlehem and find there the baby lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.
This good news of great joy for all the people was not broadcast on network or cable TV. It wasn’t covered in the local paper. Even the residents of Bethlehem, warm in their homes, did not hear the choir singing. They didn’t know what to do with the couple who came earlier to register for the census; there was no room at the inn though she was great with child.
How resonant is this story of young family seeking refuge and being turned away. How sad that the world is still wrapped up in war and atrocities—not unlike those that King Herod committed later in the story according to Matthew. How hard—even harder now that then I think—to find the silence beneath the stars, and in our hearts, that allows the message of God’s peace and goodwill to be heard and believed.
My prayer for all of you this Christmas season is that you may indeed find that silence and receive the grace of God’s good news. It may not sound like an angelic choir—though there will certainly be singing in the church. It may not come with the wrappings of Christmas like the presents underneath the tree—though I trust there will be time with family and friends and joy especially among the children. But God’s great word of peace and joy is still ringing through heaven and earth.
May you hear it some silent and holy night, may all your days be merry, and may God bring peace to this world and to all people.
In the name of Christ. Amen