I am sitting in the Pastor’s Study at Wesley UMC, Bradley, IL, trying to write the Advent and Christmas letter for 2015. How? I am sickened unto death by the violence and the darkness of the world. I am sickened unto death by the nonsense of arguing about a cup holding a $6 cup of coffee and whether it says “Christmas.” I am sickened unto death with the political season already upon us and the remaining months to come when people will say anything to get a “sound bite” for the 6 o’clock news. And even more disheartened when they claim to be Christian but will close their doors to the immigrant, the least and the lost. How will I write this letter?
I will write this letter because I have faith in the promise of GOD –that lightness will defeat darkness. I will write this letter because I believe the teaching of Jesus the Christ that my neighbor means more than the person living in the house next door, looks like me, thinks like me, or believes like me. I will write this letter because my faith tells me to have the hope and belief of a little child that truth and justice and righteous will prevail because that is GOD’s plan for creation.
So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan or any other way you celebrate the life you have been given. Remember it was a gift.
P.S. Don’t post back if you don’t have anything good to say in reply.
I continued with writing the Advent/Christmas letter and then started preparing the Sermon for November 29th, the First Sunday of Advent. I’m hoping that members of Wesley will join in an all-church study of the book, Sent:Delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas by Jorge Acevedo. The sermon for the First Sunday of Advent and the Fourth Sunday of Advent will be based on this book. The first chapter talked about God’s opening statement to each of the recipients of that first Christmas message — Don’t be afraid!
How much clearer can God’s response to my lack of hope be!!! Don’t be afraid for today I give you news of great joy! I am blessed.