A Christmas Message from Bishop Sandra

“For the wonders that astound us, for the truths that still confound us,  
most of all, that Love has found us, thanks be to God.” 

“For the Fruit of All Creation,” Fred Pratt Green 
 
Dear friends, 
 
I realize we’re on the verge of Christmas, and yet this is the line of hymnody that is speaking to my heart these days. While this comes from what is traditionally a Thanksgiving hymn, it seems fitting for the time in which we find ourselves. Whenever I hear or sing the words, “most of all, that Love has found us, thanks be to God,” I am moved and humbled. The deep truth in those five words alone: “that Love has found us,” is surely a cause to give thanks to God. 
 
It seems especially important to hear these words as we brace ourselves for this latest wave of Covid-19, when we are unable to gather in-person for public worship, some of us for the second year in a row. The reminder “that Love has found us” – regardless of where we find ourselves this Christmas, or how or where or with whom we will be able to celebrate – offers an enduring message of comfort and hope. 
 
At Christmas we celebrate the Incarnation, the gift of God’s Love embodied in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. We hear again the story of his birth and, at Epiphany, the visit of the Magi bearing gifts. There’s a lot of searching in these stories – Mary and Joseph seeking a place to stay in Bethlehem and placing their newborn child in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn; shepherds in search of the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, whose birth the angel had foretold while they were keeping watch over their sheep on the hillside that night; and later, the Magi, who initially end up in the wrong place as they follow a star that foretells the birth of a King; and yes, even Herod, who seeks out the wisdom of the chief priests and scribes to learn where this child is to be born.  
 
While each of these individuals is clearly searching for something or someone, so, too, is God. In these stories of Christmas and Epiphany, God reaches out through angels and dreams and heavenly choruses, through starlit skies and wrong turns, and through earthly rulers and religious leaders, in search of those who are willing to trust in the truth of what they see and hear, however absurd it may seem. God is still reaching out for those who are willing to trust in that truth. God is still reaching out to you and to me. 
 
The truth is that no matter how much this pandemic has stripped from our lives, it can never take away the wonder and beauty and joy of our Christmas hope. Love has found us. Like those who came face to face with that reality in the birth of Jesus Christ over two thousand years ago, and like each of us who has encountered it anew ever since, may we rest in that hope.  
 
Most of all, that Love has found us, and continues to find us, thanks be to God. 
 
With every blessing for this Christmas Season, 
 
  +Sandra

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