Merry Christmas! As you read this, Advent has passed, and we now find ourselves in the season of Christmas. I hope that you were able to find among your preparations for “this most wonderful time of the year”, time to slow down, pause, pray, and reflect on the joys of your life. We all know too well the pressures of this world, and the stress, and possible loneliness, or sense of great loss this time of year can bring. But, we have finally arrived, and it is indeed Christmas. What a blessing it is to celebrate yet again, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As we worshipped together through this season of Advent in Sunday Mass, and Wednesday night Vespers, (one of my favorite times of the liturgical year) I took a moment to reflect upon the gift that God gave to the world in His Son+, and all that he accomplished through His ministry, death and resurrection to purchase for us all, our redemption. It is indeed humbling and comforting to know that we have a God that loves us so deeply and unceasingly.
I encourage you to spend the time and actually celebrate Christmas, for it does not end until Epiphany. Leave the decorations up, and by all means keep the Christmas carols playing! With all the preparation and anticipation, it is important that we realize that this wonderful gift of a baby who came to save us all, is not just about one singular day in our calendar! The incarnation of our God means that He took on flesh. In the gift of His Son, God becomes one like us in all things but sin, born of flesh through the womb of Mary. This is one of the great mysteries of our faith. Don’t be quick to dismiss it simply because the leftovers are in the fridge, the presents are unwrapped, and the world has chosen to move on so quickly!
It is indeed a great gift to me to serve as your deacon. I have so enjoyed taking time to know many of you better, visit your homes, and taking time to talk with you about the future of our congregation, and together exploring ways to enable us to serve our members and greater community in new and improved ways. Remember to always take time to serve your neighbors, lend them a hand, give them a listening ear, and offer prayer. Get to know someone in our congregation a little better, so that as their brother or sister in Christ, you can more lovingly walk beside them in their joys, sorrows, struggles, and needs. Reach out to someone not associated with Salem and invite them in. Sit with them, encourage their faith, and remember that our job as Christians is to act as Christ in their life.
My continued prayer for you this Christmas, and best wishes for a blessed 2019!