Rector’s Christmas Message

christmas message“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. … And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord. (Luke 1:42 -45)

Beloved:

It is a profound privilege to welcome you to Christmas at Trinity and to offer a word of blessing. Christmas is all about blessings. God’s coming into the world and dwelling among us – Emmanuel is itself the profoundest of blessings. While we are never alone, Christmas and the birth of Jesus also remind us that we are not alone.

Beginning with the very first Christmas, and even now, we join with the community of all who are bearers of blessings. From the Angel Gabriel, to Mary and Elizabeth, Joseph and Zachariah, the shepherds and magi, Jesus and John the Baptist, and finally to us and future generations, we are all blessed to be a blessing. In essence, all humanity is God’s benediction, the good word spoken from the beginning of creation.

Blessings are unique calls and invitations to all of us. Those who open themselves to the possibility of blessings are not only blessed, they also become bearers of blessings. Have you received a word of blessing this Christmas? Have you been blessed to be a bearer of blessings? These two go together. The blessed ones are usually bearers of blessings. All of us are being blessed, but blessedness is a consciousness that is not proscribed by materialism. While one may be blessed, it is not always with the riches of this world. The truly blessed are bearers who seek to bring comfort and joy, justice and peace, freedom and health to the lives of others. Some bless others simply by a life lived or a word spoken.

The opening chapter of Luke Gospel presents it this way. When Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, discovered that she was blessed with a child, John the Baptist, in an incredible pregnancy, she became a bearer of blessing to Mary who also was blessed with a child (Jesus) in her own incredible pregnancy to be the bearer of a blessing, a true God bearer. Blessed by God and filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth spoke these words of blessings to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. … And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1: 42 -45)

The ministry of Trinity speaks of being bearer of blessings in this way. This year, as always, Trinity Church was blessed to be a blessing to many. Just in the past month alone, Trinity’s Outreach Ministry served several hundred. Through the “Breakfast and a Bed to Go” 150 breakfasts and sleeping bags were provided to the homeless. At the Annual Homeless Dinner, scores of families and their children received gifts and cash assistance for their life’s journey and struggle with poverty and illnesses. This also came with a miracle when an anonymous donor purchased all of the gifts for the remaining ten families on the Wish List. A partnership with our city councilman provided about 400 winter coats to the needy in a distribution at the church this week. The generosity of Trinity members provided several thousand dollars in cash assistance to those in need and seeking emergency assistance. We continue to provide temporary housing to the working poor and those needing temporary shelter between work and travel. We also stood with and by our parishioners in need.

Finally, in a world where the fear of ‘the other’ is driving a sharp division among nations and peoples, communities and races, a word of blessing in every place is needed this Christmas. It is my hope and prayer that we all be bearers of blessings this Christmas, perhaps in a word spoken, a look that assures, an embrace that comforts, or a presence that restores joy. May God bless each of us to be bearers of blessings.

With every joy for a blessed Christmastide, I am,

Faithfully Christ,

John Harmon+
XIV Rector, Trinity Parish
24 December 2015