December 19, 2017

A Christmas Message from the Dean

Dear Friends,

Christmas means many things to each of us, from the sentimental to the sacred. Most of us fall somewhere in between, for truth be known, these are not mutually exclusive poles; Christmas, for most of us, is a blend of both – a season of memories, a season of merriment, perhaps sorrows, and a season of adoration. Celebrating Christmas takes place on a spectrum of realities, all mixed and blended together in unique ways, tailored to the contours of our life, our joys and sorrows.

But Christmas means more than the simple sum of our experiences.

The birth narratives of the Christ child point to three great themes. Each one of the Gospel themes expresses a facet of the Christmas story:

  1. Christmas is a season of friendship. In Christmas, God is demonstrating divine friendship toward each and all of us. This divine friendship toward all humans goes so deep that God chose to become human, one of us. God shared our humanity so that we might share his divinity.
  2. Christmas is a season of fellowship. No one is ever alone with God. The presence of God always creates community and fellowship. Look at the portrayals of Jesus’s birth – a baby, parents, the animals, the Magi, shepherds, angels, a heavenly choir. The presence of God is always soaked in love and creates community. Love is the energy of a divine will bent on creating fellowship.
  3. Christmas is a season of faith. Jesus represents our future: a new future in which death is destroyed and reconciliation, forgiveness and hope stand as hallmarks of God’s inbreaking reign of peace, justice, dignity, love. You and I are invited to share in the building of God’s reign by working for peace, promoting justice, ending violence and respecting human dignity.

Friendship. Fellowship. Faith. These are the realities of Christmas which both draw us in and propel us outward in the upcoming year toward God’s future through service to the world and our neighbor.

In this Christmas season, let us be merry, for that is the way the world can be – in Him.

Christmas blessings, Christmas joy and prayers for Godspeed in the coming year.

The Right Rev. Clifton Daniel III
Interim Dean