And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger Luke 2:12
Dear Members and Friends of St. Peter’s Church,
Two millennia have passed and that very simple, very powerful sign still burns bright.
Christmas reveals a marvelous mystery on the surprising, yet consistent, nature of God. From childhood I have been continually amazed by how God chose to come among us. The Alpha and Omega, the Architect of the Cosmos, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Word that was in the beginning with God and was God --- came to us as a helpless newborn, surrounded by the scents and snorts of barnyard animals.
Why such an entrance? The simplicity and humble earthiness of the manger are the mirror opposites of Lucifer’s sin, Adam’s sin and our sin – our overweening pride, our worship of the almighty ME. The manger takes our grasping and self-inflating and puts them on end. That image of the Christ child never fails to melt my pride. The manger tells me I no longer need to struggle to show how sophisticated I can be. With magnificent simplicity the Christ child has set us free to be who we are – loved, redeemed children of God.
What a gift! No need for one-upmanship with the shepherds. No drive to impress the donkeys. Clearly all creation, all our lives, all our ordinary existence is acceptable, holy and pleasing to our God. And it’s all laid out right there in the manger – still a sign unto us all.
Without the slightest exaggeration, this year with you has been the happiest and busiest ever for Jane and me. We truly have caught the Advent spirit of Christmas coming to St. Peter’s. It is a daily joy to be working with our dedicated parish staff as we prepare for Christ’s coming. They join me in humble appreciation of the magnificent support you give to make our ministry a bright and constant sign of Christ’s love in the world.
Please keep the parish family in your prayers as we anticipate and celebrate the wonder of the child Redeemer. And please come celebrate with us the joy of Christmas at one of the many beautiful services listed in the newsletter.
May the exaltation of the angels and the peace of the Christ child be God’s gift to you this Christmastide and always,
Faithfully yours in Christ’s love,