Thursday, December 17, 2015

Rector's 2015 Christmas Letter - Joy to the World!

Christmas is a celebration of God who is constantly surprising us. The Messiah comes, not as an earthly ruler, not as a mighty warrior, but as a child in a manger. The witnesses are not the priests and leaders of the Jewish nation, but poor shepherds and a few wandering foreigners. Jesus' whole earthly life was a series of acts which defied expectations and caught people - both his followers and his enemies - off guard.

God continues to surprise us. Sometimes those surprises are positive, even miraculous, and we rejoice in them. Other times those surprises upset carefully crafted plans.

In the past year, we at St. Philip's have run into our share of unpleasant surprises, particularly in the sale of the rectory. Yet the setbacks have not broken us; indeed on the positive side, a significant decrease in oi1 prices has kept us financially on track. 'We have engaged in good stewardship: members have continued to give generously, and we have controlled spending while also taking on some overdue repairs (restoration of the front walk and Children's Porch).

As we celebrate Christmas the challenge for us is to carry through the year our ability to be surprised by what God is doing and to allow God to use us to continually surprise the world. We make God known by doing God's work in the world. We continue to have a vital partnership with the NDG Food Depot, and our serving as a collection and sorting centre for their recent food drive was once again a great success in organization, in welcoming the neighbourhood, and in serving those in need. We are joining with Trinity Memorial and St. Thomas to sponsor a refugee family. As a community, we are growing how we share Christ with the world around us.

May you have a blessed Christmastide!
The Rev. James B. Pratt Rector

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