Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Letter

We pray daily, “Thy kingdom come”. Part of our identity as Christians, together with faith and love, is hope. We can see beyond our present, imperfect, fallen state, to imagine the beauty and joy of God's kingdom, of which the prophets have spoken poetically. We yearn for it, we hunger for it, and even more so when our life is filled with disappointments and setbacks.

But sometimes, we ascribe to our hope too long a horizon. We think of the kingdom as something far in the future, not soon attainable, something that we will never see in our lifetime. Or we think that all we have to do is sit back and wait patiently for God to bring it in, in God’s own time.

But John the Baptist calls out to us: “the kingdom of heaven is near.” The yearly celebration of Christmas, our carols, our proclamation of the nativity story, all remind us that God has already come among us, shining light in the darkness of this world. The kingdom is breaking in. Rather than sitting back and waiting patiently for it to arrive in all its fullness, our calling is to be active participants in the kingdom, to be a part of making our hope a present reality. Unless our hope leads us to action, our hope is empty.

In our parish life, after a year of roadblocks, we have finally sold the rectory. We now have a healthy endowment. We cannot touch the principal, only the income from it. But combined with the savings of the costs of maintaining, heating and operating the rectory, we now have flexibility in our budget. No longer do we need to struggle simply to pay our basic operating costs, like heat and hydro. But this is not a time to be passive, to breathe easy, and to sit back and wait for God.

How can we continue to re-order our spending priorities, in order to work to help bring about the kingdom of God in our midst? How can we invest our resources to create something new, to bring life and light, the promise of Christmas, to those around us? How can we make our hope something tangible and real, for ourselves and for others?

This Christmas, may the presence of the Christ, the Word made flesh, fill us, so that we may share his light and life, and find all our hopes fulfilled.

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. James B. Pratt

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