Monday, December 19, 2011

O Christmas Trees!

My Christmas letter to the people of God at St. John's Church. The drawing is by Catherine Marie Michaels:

When you enter St. John’s Church at Christmastime, take a close look at our beautiful decorations and, in thanksgiving for the Holy Trinity, count to three.

This year, Kathe Hayden and the Altar Guild have been inspired by an old folk tale about three saplings that dreamed big. One wanted to be made into a treasure chest. The second yearned to be a great sailing ship. The third just wanted to be tallest.

What happened? You probably know the story. One tree was used for the rough hewn feed box that became our LORD’s cradle, the second for the disciples’ rugged fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee, and the third – for the hard wood of the Cross.

The story teaches, as does Holy Scripture, that God exalts the humble and humbles the proud. That’s a timeless prophecy to a world that is still hungry for justice and freedom, a world where people so often seem to be rewarded for doing the wrong thing by receiving far more than their share of blessings.

But God’s just purposes are just part of our promise in Christ. Even more wonderful is knowing that there’s no tree in the forest, no lonely traveler along the often difficult way of earthly life, for whom God doesn’t intend something unique and indispensable. From schoolyard to workplace, from pew to dining room table, from hospital bed to the neighborhood board and care – whenever we find ourselves on our journeys, we are in God’s care and called to perform ministry that we, and we alone, are in the position to accomplish for God’s glory.

That’s the promise of Resurrection. That’s the power of Incarnation. That’s the glory of Christmas. So join us at St. John’s this Christmas – and please bring a friend to church!

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