Christmas Eve, December 24, 2018

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St. Andrew’s Church, Grimsby Ontario

200 children remain separated from their parents as a result of Trump’s intolerant and illogical immigration policy. 15,000 children and young people continue to languish in desert tents in remote places in the US. Hundreds of asylum seekers who come to Canada have to choose between placing their children in foster care or keeping them with them in a detention facility. All of this is unnecessary and could be managed better. All of this results in significant psychological trauma for children. And all of this because we are afraid.

Meanwhile Christians the world over, celebrate the story of a mother and a father cocooned in a manger, leaning in with single-minded love to protect and nurture a small child. The incarnation is all about vulnerability, potentiality and the sacramentality between the sacred and mundane.

This beautiful Christmas story brings me shame and it brings me hope.

My prayer today will include children who are with families but who feel alone. Children who are alone because they are separated from their families. Children who are protected and nurtured through their families. I will ask for forgiveness, courage and peace. May your families be places of peace, hope, joy and love.

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Luke 2:1-14 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Isaiah 9:2-7  The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
    on them light has shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation,
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as people exult when dividing plunder.
4 For the yoke of their burden,
    and the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors
    and all the garments rolled in blood
    shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His authority shall grow continually,
    and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

6 thoughts on “Christmas Eve, December 24, 2018

  1. maxwoolaver says:

    Greetings Dawn; Is the photo above your Dec. 24th ‘Love Letter’ taken from a photo you took at St. Andrew’s? Hmmm… Max ps We have to say’ maybe’ in response to your warmly offered and warmly received ‘House Blessing Epiphany’ gathering (success a great idea!)…Our Hannah is giving us tickets for an as yet unnamed event for Christmas, as it turns out, for Jan 6th…she set this up some time ago after checking our calendar with us. We don’t know the details of when and where…we will be in touch just as soon as we know…well…maybe not Christmas morning…. 🙂 Every blessing Max

    >

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  2. Mary J Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt prayer..I am having a struggle with Christmas this year….The world we are living in is so different from the world as we wish it was….. justice and peace for all
    PS Glad to see a wee part of one of our windows at St Andrews

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    • Staying hopeful really does take an intentional effort, a spiritual practice. I think the way we feel now is something like the way Mary and Joseph might have felt in the 1st century. Then, like now, there was a lot of turmoil, violence, migration and change. People wondered when the Messiah would come to make it right and rescue them. So we have been here before (even though the stakes seem a lot higher this time). Never waive from time with God in quiet. Otherwise you will go mad with anxiety. Do something (albeit small) to help change things for the good. (I am giving up on bringing more plastic into the house.) Stay engaged with family and friends and find joy there. Laugh, sing and play whenever you can. And remember you are loved beyond measure and you are not in control. 😉 Peace, d

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  3. Desiree Althouse says:

    Thank you for reminding us of the Christmas message. Being afraid of those we do not know closes many doors, builds many walls. We need windows . We need courage . We need hope.
    Merry Christmas to our small fragile planet.

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