My dear friends,
My most sincere prayers that this be for you a very blessed and peaceful Christmas. I received a letter from a Brother in our New England province a few days ago, riffing off one of my posts on this blog, so since it is better than anything I could have done, I include it below. (Shawn, I hope you don't mind me borrowing your letter - it was too good to miss!) Let us pray for each other, that this Christmas we remember the poor, that we see in this quotidian miracle of birth the ever-new birth of the reign of God: justice, forgiveness, crossing of boundaries to welcome the outsider.
Who I am is who I am in God, and nothing more.
--And God came to us that way, too.
As an infant.
As one born into a family that had faith and very little else.
As the bearer of reconciliation, renewal in the Covenant,
As Savior and Brother and Lord – as he was in God.
--And Jesus lived among us that way, too.
As a humble, quiet resident of Nazareth for 30 of his 33 years.
As an itinerant preacher who challenged the status quo.
As one who loved those considered unlovable, unacceptable,
unclean and unknown
(the stranger, the widow, the orphan, the immigrant,
the substance abuser, the criminal – all children of God)
As one who challenges us to do the same.
--And now we are called to live that way, too.
As people of faith in the face of skepticism.
As people of hope in a world where sometimes hope seems lost.
As people of love in a society that has often confused its
priorities about what love means.
Who I am is who I am in God and nothing more.
May the Spirit of God, the Spirit that gave Jesus life and gives us life,
guide you to become who are you are in God
this Advent and Christmas
and throughout the New Year to come.