Christmas is right around the corner. It is a struggle to "feel it." We approach the holiday season, the season of eating and shopping and family gatherings -- the season of packed worship services and music -- the season where we are supposed to feel better about our lives and about our world.
It is all different this year. Family gatherings will be limited, most shopping will be online, worship is taking a different form. This is our reality for this year, and until we figure out what the new reality will be. It just doesn't feel like the holiday season. But, this year, our celebration of the birth of the baby in Bethlehem is closer to the original celebration.
2000 years ago, there were no office parties and gala celebrations. The gifts were rather limited. The focus was on families and communities trying to survive a time of uncertainty and fear.
2000 years ago, the focus was on God and the gift of God's Son yo a broken and hurting world. In 2020, the focus IS on God and the gift of God's Son to a divided and fear-filled world.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David
a Savior has been boprn to you; he is Christ the Lord."
St. Mark's community and friends, do not be afraid. Our Savior, Christ the Lord, is born to redeem us, love us, and gift us with abundant life.
In hope, peace, love and joy,
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”