Pastor Mark’s eNote – Christmas Faith

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     “… and he feeleth for our sadness, and he shareth in our gladness” –from “Once in Royal David’s City”

     Our Christian year is an affirmation of faith written with days, theology written on the calendar. With our movement through the year, the gospel is proclaimed and our own claims tested by the gospel. The story envelops us, and our faith is strengthened, shaken, renewed, recast, rediscovered.

     And so now we begin the story of days anew, with Advent carrying us toward the wondrous, scandalous, ridiculous proclamation of Christmas. For all the power and glory of Easter, I find that Christmas speaks to the depths and mysteries of life as no other day can. God with us, the divine in our midst, and in every mundane moment a holiness hidden, only to be revealed. I love Christmas. The message written on its little corner of the calendar is enough to transform the new year of the next page.

     That baby crying in the manger will bring healing, truth and grace. When he finds his voice, he will speak judgment and mercy to sinners and saints alike; his embrace will shatter assumptions and prejudices; his touch will offer life where there is death; he will speak forgiveness when all is lost and call us to a life that is a new community of grace and compassion.

     But on December 25, it is enough that he simply is.

     On Christmas morning, a baby is held in a mother’s arms, and the distance from earth to heaven is no more. That baby is God with us, and in him human life is embraced in divine love. In the joys and sorrow that life brings—God with us. In the bland balance of humdrum routine—God with us. Right here and now—God with us.

     Christmas faith is the bliss of spiritual epiphany and the certainty of the ground beneath our feet. It is the lifeline thrown to us in a storm and the sea upon which we sail when the winds are steady. It is the still, small voice of comfort in our distress and the hallelujah of praise that welcomes a child’s first cry. It is the joyous bustle of family and friends and the wordless communion of holy solitude. Christmas faith is the assurance that there is no corner of human existence where God is not.

     So, circle the date and count the days. This Sunday we will explore how we can find—and BE—Christmas even as we get ready for Christmas; then on the 17th our choir and musicians will tell the story in song; and then, on Christmas Eve, well, it will all be there—song and words and joy and light and all the glory of heaven in the quiet of a baby’s breaths.

In Christ,

Mark Westmoreland

Author: Mark Westmoreland

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