Pastor’s Epistle December 2018
‘By the tender mercies of God
the dawn from on high will break upon us
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet in the way of peace.’
Have you noticed? Darkness comes to us so early now and it only gets worse until the winter solstice on December 21st, the longest night of the year!
For centuries after the birth of Christ, the church did not celebrate the birth of Christ. When it did become a major festival and a date secured in the calendar, the church set December 25th as the date, close to the longest night of the year which was celebrated by pagans. It was thought that this date, December 25th, would be most appropriate, for the dawn, the Light of the World comes in the midst of the deepest darkness the world knew, at least in our hemisphere.
The Truth would be known experientially - ‘the dawn from on high will break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness.’
But here is the question, as Fa. Greg Boyle puts it; ‘How do those who sit in darkness find the Light?’ (‘ Tattoos on the Heart’, pg 44)
During these days of growing darkness we know as December, and, in the church, as Advent, we easily know how pervasive darkness is in many people’s lives, and yes, even in our own lives. Is there more than simply the trite ‘hang in there’ sentiment we can offer one another? Or is that all we have?
During these four weeks of Advent and into Christmas Eve as well, you’ll become familiar with HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES, Fa. Greg Boyle and the ones known as ‘homies’. Their stories, some of which will touch your heart, maybe even bring you to tears, will remind us all of how far we have been from home, that is, from our true selves. Their stories are real, because they real people, just like you and me. The thing is, they are no different from you or me. They have hopes and dreams, they are frail and fragile young men and women, and some not so young. But their stories are really our stories. But most of all, I hope that when all is said and done, we will know that these have been and are God’s stories too!
Yes, we celebrate a cataclysmic event of grand proportion in the coming of ‘God in the flesh’ , in Jesus, born of Mary, born over 2,000 years ago, as we will hear the story unfold through the words of Scripture. and the carols we sing. But they will mean little to us, until we know that God has ‘come home for Christmas’ to visit us, to ‘pitch his tent’ in our lives and in our world. This is God’s tender mercy - Jesus!
HOME FOR CHRISTMAS is God’s very clear intention to love us with an everlasting love. Make room for Christ’s coming - ready or not!
In joyful anticipation……….