Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)
Not everyone looks forward to the Christmas holiday. The dark days of the winter solstice brings the cold that chills us to the core. Early risers wake up to the pre-dawn darkness. While there are those who long for a white Christmas, the ice and snow cause some to be homebound, others find trips delayed and those who drive for a living put their lives at risk encountering slick roads. Families with sick children struggle and anxiously wait for restoration of health. Families in Ukraine without heat and water. Others at the border are seeking refuge and care. Judy and I along with a multitude of others find we are feeling “out of sorts” this Christmas with the loss of loved ones. It doesn’t feel much like Christmas.
It wasn’t that different in the time of Joseph and Mary. Both were on an adventure that neither expected. And in each case, they were told by angels, “Do not be afraid.” They were living in a time of Roman rule and occupation of their homeland. Life was far from being easy. You’d think the weary mother and the guardian of the Son of God would have been welcomed in the community of Bethlehem, given the best accommodations, and provided with the proper assistance for a mother about to give birth. But none of this occurred. Instead, Mary and Joseph made do with a manger and among the animals, Mary gave birth to a son, Jesus. The king’s throne was a feeding trough and those that would arrive later that night came from the fields (not from the homes of the wealthy and powerful). The shepherds too were told not to be afraid when it was announced to them that a Savior had been born in Bethlehem. They went with haste and found the child.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…. Over the years the light of Christ has accompanied me on my journey. I have seen the light shine through others by way of their compassion and care. I have experienced the light shining upon me when I least suspect it and am reminded that I, nor anyone else, are alone. In moments of hurt and fear, God’s light in Jesus brings me to trust and hope. “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). The words, “Do not be afraid” continue to ring in my heart. Somehow, some way God moves me so that I may be able to share the light in the person of Jesus with others who also walk in darkness.
To you dear members of St. David’s Episcopal Church, to your family and friends, to the whole world – on this and everyday – light has shined upon you.
May you find peace, hope and joy this Christmas season. Merry Christmas!
Your Servant in Christ,