Last week here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, we lit a candle for joy and witnessed our annual Christmas Pageant. Always a fun time!
On this coming Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we will light a candle for “Love.” This year it is also Christmas Eve. It's going to be a busy day for services with Morning Worship at 10:00 am, a service of Lessons, Carols and Candlelight at 7:00 pm and a Midnight Communion commencing at 11:30 pm in our historic Hebron House. Anybody and everybody is welcome to join us if you are in the area.
There is a carol by Christina G. Rossetti that pictures the reason for season, in this way;
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.
I suspect that, be we religious, skeptic or unbeliever, we are all looking for love to be born into the different situations that we pass through in our lives. The coming of winter reminds us that life can be cold and dark, and that warmth and light are always welcome.
Acknowledging the darkness, we this year have a "Solstice Service of Remembrance" on Thursday December 21 at 7:00 pm. This will be a time to reflect, listen to some music, light a candle and seek God's strength to guide us through the blues of the season. Again, anybody and everybody is welcome to join us.
There are so many aspects to the Christmas story that often go overlooked. It's not just about Jesus, but also involves the love of a young couple, an unexpected pregnancy, an unanticipated journey and discovering yourself homeless in an unwelcoming town.
As we follow the story through we see glory being revealed to working folk out on a hillside; a message that bypasses the local dignitaries, yet is later revealed to foreign stargazers. We will witness the anger of a despot King called Herod and the status of a young family becoming refugees as they flee to Egypt to escape persecution.
We also hear of angels and dreams, of prophecies fulfilled and proclamations being made about future peace and hopes as yet unrealized. It's an amazing story, and one that the biblical authors are keen to relate to the character of a God whose eternal nature is that of love.
However we celebrate.. or observe this season... hopefully we will take time out to consider whatever is good, pleasing and wholesome about our lives and the world that we share with our neighbors. It's been a hard year for many people. A lot of people need a helping hand.
Can our hands be those hands? Can the light we share help lift another persons dark clouds? Can we allow our reflections on love to prompt us to reach out to folk who feel unloved? Surely it is our actions that enable love to come down at Christmas... and any other time of the year.
Listen to the stories. Sing some songs. Celebrate the season in ways that mean something to you. And maybe, in that way, you can enter 2018 refreshed and ready to take on a New Year!
I am an unapologetic and unashamed fan of Christmas. Feel free to wish me a Happy Holiday, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas... or even to bellow “Bah Humbug” in my general direction. It is hard to take offense when you are celebrating love.
One of the things I truly enjoy is the glorious music of the season. Here's a performance of the classic song “O Holy Night” by Andrea Bocelli & David Foster. Allow me to take this opportunity to wish you and yours every blessing for the season and the New Year!
The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D