Christmas Letter 2017
As I continue on my own Christian journey I find myself more and more drawn to the quiet expectations of Advent and the wonder and joy Christmas. As I write this letter it is dark, dreary and rainy, a rather typical early winter day In Vancouver. Yet I am uplifted in these sunlit shortened days of damp and chill that something very special is taking shape. The season of Advent is soon upon us and I can begin once again to peacefully walk the journey to Bethlehem and imagine the bright star in the dark of night that announces the birth of Jesus. Every year on this journey I find a renewed awareness in my connection to God and a greater appreciation of what it is to be Christian.
In the weeks of Advent we celebrate peace, hope, joy and love. As we carefully reflect on each one of these we likely think about the year just past and how our lives, for better or worse, interacted with each one. A couple of years ago I was given an Advent calendar by a friend. I had not had one since I was a child. I was surprised and somewhat amazed at how much I looked forward to pealing back the tab for each morning, discovering what picture of the Christmas story I would be presented with that day. It reminded me to take some time in Advent to reflect how God wants us all to have peace, hope, joy and love in our lives and how God guides us toward that light every day. It also reminded me to take stock of my many blessings in the year past, and to thank God for being with me during the challenges I underwent as well. Advent can be our quiet time to talk with God as we walk perhaps a darker path towards that great light we will find in Bethlehem.
And then, of course, we do arrive. The angels says, “I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord”. Our Advent journey is over and it is time to celebrate what the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once called the absolute change of all things. The birth of Christ is a sign to us of the great and lasting renewal of peace, hope, joy and love. At Christmas we get to dream out loud again. We get to rejoice with family and friends a love that is meant to spread peace, hope and joy through us and to the whole world. At Christmas we are surrounded with the light of God and we once again start our yearly pilgrimage of life with renewed spirit.
I wish you and all your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and many blessings from God in the year ahead.
Yours In Christ, The Reverend Patrick Blaney