So often through the years when I have written my Christmas letter to the Parish, it has “coincidently” matched the theme of the Christmas paper that Karen had picked out. This year, the reverse was true. We had looked on line at many, many samples of Christmas paper before deciding on the one we used which had a picture of Mary holding the baby Jesus with the familiar passage from Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born,” As I looked at the picture and read the verse, I found myself singing Handel’s Messiah in my head. As a child it was something I heard my Mom’s choral group perform, then later I sang it with my High School Chorus. Through the years, I went with my Mom and sisters to sing it a couple more times in a “Do it yourself Messiah.” More recently, we have sung it together with the choir, here at St. Hugh’s. It is an astounding piece of music and a wonderful thing to sing or listen to this time of year as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s Incarnation. What thoughts and memories does this verse evoke in you?
George Frideric Handel’s Messiah was originally composed as an Easter offering, but over time it has become associated with Christmas. It is easy to see why. It is a beautiful reflection on God’s Incarnation, starting with the babe at Bethlehem, then naming many attributes of Jesus and God’s majesty. The full verse of Isaiah 9:6 is “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name is called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.” What a lot of responsibility was laid on those tiny shoulders!! Too much for a baby, but we know from Luke’s gospel that “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.“ (Luke 2:52). At Christmas we celebrate the fact that Jesus was born for us, to be the Savior of the world!!
Pondering the Incarnation fills me with awe! How astonishing that God stepped out of eternity and the heavenly realms to live a while as one of us, with all the constraints of humanity and time! We sum this miracle up week after week when we say the words of the Nicene Creed that “For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.” For unto us a child was born! May we remember this and ponder anew the remarkable gift we have been given in Jesus as we celebrate Christmas this year! My prayer for each of us is that we will be caught up in the remarkable love of this season, that God has for us always and wants us to share with the world.If you don't have a parish family and are looking for a place to celebrate Christmas, I hope you will come and join us!
Christmas Blessings to all,
December 24th - 4th Sunday in Advent -10:30AM
Christmas Eve services - 4:00PM and 8:00PM
Carols at 7:30PM prior to the evening service
Christmas Day service - 10:00AM