Our soul journey has now entered its twelfth month
and we’re enjoying a respite
from the arduous pilgrimage of grief.
During this month, the days begin to grow longer
and the nights shorter.
Themes of light out of darkness, warmth out of cold,
hope out of despair brighten our moods.
From all the chaos and imperfection of our world,
we search for a more perfect place.
Deep within us we are uplifted
by the lightness and celebration of the season.
As we pass the winter solstice,
we enter into one of the most joyous festivals, Christmas.
With the hope of light and warmth to come in the months ahead,
we are reminded of the Light being born into the world in a stable.
We gather in sanctuaries, ancient stone churches, and homes.
We brighten the season with every kind of light:
the Advent candle, scented candles,
Christmas tree lights,
lights adorning the outside of our homes and sidewalks,
coming together for a brief time as a community of human beings.
We long for those rare moments
where we feel our families are in harmony.
For a moment we rise above the conflicts of life
and enter into a place that is sacred.
We get a taste of what heaven may be like.
The foundations of love, family, and spirituality take center stage.
With our sensitization to the moods of fear,
we seek some consolation for our battered souls.
The images of community and communion
are at the roots of our Christian tradition.
One of my favorite activities at this time of year
is to listen to or participate in choral music.
Sacred music has a lot to offer.
Listening to choirs singing with such harmony, depth, and beauty…
arouses my soul.
When we gather in sacred spaces and sing together,
we celebrate and reflect on the great sacred themes of life.
We find an outlet or a retreat for our emotional expressions
and nourish and reaffirm our roots.
Singing binds us together like almost nothing else.
Christmas is a time of gifts, food, and just plain “feeling good.”
Joyous social celebrations lift our spirits.
The brilliant winter sun, seeing our breath in the chilled air,
and the first, deep snow that hugs the earth…
clear our thoughts and we feel warm, full and radiant.
We hear carolers and bell-choirs;
attend our children’s Christmas programs,
shop for those special gifts to loved ones, and kiss under the mistletoe.
Patricia and I hope that Christmas this year
will be very special to you.
We pray that your hearts will be uplifted and touched with joy!
The Christmas message is one of great enjoyment and delight!
“Arise and shine, for your Light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:2, 6).