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Dear People of Ascension,

Well, someone was really praying for a White Christmas - and their prayers were answered!

I hope you are well and warm somewhere on this chilly and blustery Christmas Eve Day.  It is disappointing, after missing the last two Christmas Eve services due to Covid restrictions, to have this weather hit us just now.  

And yet, strangely apropos.

No doubt upon arrival in Bethlehem that day, after a long and very uncomfortable journey, it was profoundly disappointing to find no room in the inn.  I wonder what Mary must have been thinking, let alone Joseph.  After all, they were led to believe the baby that was on the way was the Son of God, the Messiah.  Surely God could arrange for a comfortable room in an outback inn for the delivery.

Tonight we will gather - whether in person, online or in spirit.  When we do, we will celebrate and remember what God did in profoundly disappointing circumstances.  God joined us.  And we called him Emmanuel - God with us. 

Let’s not make light of how challenging it can be to hold onto that truth.  Yet hold onto it we must if we want to choose the pathway of hope in this life. 

My prayer this Christmas for you, your loved ones and our community of Ascension is for the blessing of light in the darkness that enables us to hold onto that hope, despite what we may see or experience as disappointing circumstances.  Though the centuries have made the Christmas story rather warm and cozy, let us not forget the raw, challenging and very real nature of it.  That is what God came into and that is where we find God now.  May you know the blessing of that presence - God with us.

Wishing you all a blessed and hopeful Christmas,