Saturday, December 25, 2010
I salute you. I am your friend and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not got. But there is much, very much, that while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty . . .
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage then to claim it, that is all! . . .
And so I greet you, with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
"Letter to a Friend" by Fra Giovanni, 1513
Posted by Ann at 10:11 AM
Friday, December 24, 2010
Welcome to our celebration of this most amazing night. Celebrating a birth that reveals that all creation and life is holy. The beginning again of hearing the angels' song of hope for Peace on Earth - peace in our families, peace in our communities, peace in the world. The helpless infant in the manger at Bethlehem is the message God is with us. God is with us in our joys and our sorrows, in pain and in health. God knows us intimately - has walked our path from the first cry of coming into this world, the joy of and the betrayal by friends. God knows the joy of celebrations with families and the grief and pain of death. This is not a God who stays at a distance, who does not know crying, but God who enters into the fullness of life and walks the paths of this world with us. We look to power to fix things in this world but the message of the manger is God entrusting all life to us. The power of God is not military might or wealth. The power of God is found in saying "help me" -- both Jesus in the manger and Christ on the cross show that same message.
There is a a story that when God finished making the heavens and the earth and sending people out into the world, and Jesus came to walk with us and show us the way to be fully human and was crucified, died and rose from the dead. The angels asked so who is going to continue this work of creation and bringing peace on earth? God said "they are" -- the angels looked out on the rag tag collection of people who had heard the message and said -- that's your plan? God said "yes." The angels said - "Is there a Plan B?"
There is no Plan B -- it's us and "God with us" - "Immanuel" - whose birth we celebrate this night. So let's take a deep breath, sing our carols and light our candles against the deep dark places of life -- open our presents of presence - being that point of God's presence in our world - each day.