Dear People of the Community of Ascension,
I stumbled upon a hymn that I am not familiar with in our Common Praise Hymnal. It is entitled "No Crowded Eastern Street" (CP 129). The text was written by a Canadian woman, Frieda Major, who lived from 1891-1976. Since it is copyrighted by an Anglican church in Winnipeg, and includes references to 'prairie snows' and a 'great red barn', I make the assumption that Frieda lived on a Manitoba farm at some point. I'm not certain as I cannot find any other information about her other than she is the author.
I share a verse from that hymn in the picture that accompanies this letter because I am struck by the meaning of Frieda's hymn - which is, though we are not in that stable in the Middle East some 2000 years ago, Christ the King is no less born to us as well. It might be something we say, but it does us well to pause and ponder this truth.
A favourite song of mine is called "Be Born in Me" and invites the Christ child to be born anew in us again and again. To open our minds and hearts to the audacious love of God coming to us in an infant; to the trust that God puts in humanity to carry the divine; and to the willingness of the Spirit to work in and through us, despite our limitations and failings. The celebration of Christmas is not only of God with us, but God in us.
May you know in new ways the birth of Christ this year - again! And may that be a rich blessing for you and for those who encounter you. It may be a small light in a distant window on a cold and dark winter night, but it is a light none-the-less and for all the darkness around it, such a light inspires greater hope and warmth.
May you and your family and friends know the rich blessing of Christmas - whether it is in the hustle and bustle, in a church service, or over a quiet cup of tea with special memories you hold. May the Christ Child be born anew in you.
With Peace and blessings for Christmas and the New Year,
The Reverend Canon Ruthanne Ward
postscript - If you are in church over the next couple of Sundays or on Christmas Eve you will notice a special offering envelop in your bulletin. This is primarily made available for those who are visiting and for those who want to make a special offering at Christmas over and above their regular giving. This is not a special appeal. We thank you for your ongoing generosity as you support the ministry of Ascension!