Merry Christmas dear ones. I hope you have had a wonderful few days since we came together to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity at Trinity and around the world. I shared a portion of this wonderful piece below in one of my sermons and thought it might be nice to include the entire text here as well are now into the season of Christmastide- the days following Christmas when we anticipate the coming of the wisemen in our ancient story as they follow the light to a most holy and unlikely place in order to find the Christ child.

Come home this Sunday as we continue our celebration with the ancient tradition of a Christmas Lesson and Carols service followed by the Eucharist. We will read scripture from the Message remembering the meta-narrative of the greatest love story ever told, sing our favorite seasonal hymns and hear from our fabulous Jobst Choral Scholars.

May you never forget that you are loved,

Keeping Christmas (by Henry Van Dyke, 1905)
(PS-I have taken the liberty of changing his single pronoun references to plural in hopes of offering this invitation to us collectively as a community- for, as he says, none of us can do this work of loving the world alone.)

Are we willing…

  • to forget what we have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for us;
  • to ignore what the world owes us, and to think what we owe the world;
  • to put our rights in the background, and our duties in the middle distance, and our chances to do a little more than our duty in the foreground;
  • to see that all people are just as real as we are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy;
  • to own up to the fact that probably the only good reason for our existence is not what we are going to get out of life, but what we are going to give to life;
  • to close our book of complaints against the management of the universe and look around us for a place where we can sow a few seeds of happiness.

Are we willing to do these things even for a day?
Then we can keep Christmas.

Are we willing…

  • to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children;
  • to remember the weakness and loneliness of people growing old;
  • to stop asking how much our friends love us, and ask ourselves whether we love them enough;
  • to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts;
  • to try to understand what those who live in the same home with us really want, without waiting for them to tell us;
  • to trim our lamps so they will give more light and less smoke, and carry them in front so that our shadows will fall behind us;
  • to make a grave for our ugly thoughts, and a garden for our kindly feelings, with the gate open—

Are we willing to do these things, even for a day?
Then we can keep Christmas.

Are we willing…

  • to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world—
  • stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death—
  • and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?
    Then we can keep Christmas.

And if we can keep it for a day, why not always?
But we can never keep it alone.

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