Looking to Christmas, 2018 . . .
Dear People of Saint Timothy’s Parish:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior,” says Mary (Luke 1:46).
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people,” says Zechariah (Luke 1:68).
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased,” say the angelic host (Luke 2:14).
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace . . . for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,” says Simeon (Luke 2:29).
These are the words of Christmas, the words the Bible uses to describe the birth of Jesus. And what gracious words they are!
Christmas is a time of graciousness—of God’s graciousness toward us, and our graciousness toward each other. The words themselves were spoken two thousand years ago, but the message they herald is as gracious today as it was back then—and the world we live in can be as hostile to that graciousness today as it was back then.
But graciousness will prevail. No matter how hard the world may attempt to silence the words of Christmas, no matter how great the desolation, how bitter the enmity, how deadly the conflicts and pestilence of this earth, the graciousness of Christmas will be spoken and the message of the Incarnation will be preached. That is God’s promise. And that is our work.
The graciousness of Christmas is not a tit-for-tat business deal, not a game of one-upmanship, not a ritual of obligatory parties or presents. The graciousness of Christmas is simply the desire to give to others as God has given to us. That is Christmas graciousness, a graciousness rooted not in the trappings and trivia of “Season’s Greetings,” but in the love, peace, and joy of God himself.
You can add your voice to the voices of Mary, Zechariah, Simeon, and the angelic host this Christmas. You can do that in church. You can do that with your family. You can do that with your friends. You can that with those who have no friends. You can even do that with those who don’t want your friendship. Just be gracious. Give as God gave. Consider the gift of the Son of God that this season celebrates, and simply give to others with the same graciousness that God has given to you.
May God bless you with a full portion of Christmas graciousness, both now and always!