Watch or read Bishop DeDe’s Christmas Message below.
Merry Christmas! This is that time of year when we story-tell, when we tell the stories of Christmases past, or when we were children, or something that we cherish about this time. It is also the time when we tell the story of the Christ Child. This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary and the stories we tell about Mary. This young woman who says to God, “Behold, I’m the hand-maiden of God.” This young woman who receives the angel Gabriel and ponders in her heart what sort of greeting this may be. But, you know, the story that has been on my heart is: after all that has been heralded, all that has been said, Mary travelling with her husband alone and having no place at the inn, finding no welcome.
There must have been a moment when Mary thought, “Where did that angel go? What happened to all this ‘God with us?'” The loneliness. The isolation. The questions. And yet, her faithfulness shines through the narrative of the gospels, her faithfulness in continuing to seek God.
For each of us in this time, we have the opportunity in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, to do likewise. We may be feeling alone or afraid, isolated or confused. And we may be feeling sorrow for those we love but see no longer – those whose stories have concluded in this life.
And so in this time, the incarnation of Jesus is exactly the story we need to tell:
That love is not bound by death.
That you have been created in love, for love, to love.
That when we love and forgive our neighbors, we find hope and joy.
That when we respond to our hurting world with the mercy of God, we find mercy in ourselves.
Our faithful story of Christmas is not just about a moment. It’s about a lifetime. It’s about a relationship that will carry us through every season of life, not just this one. That God loves you. That God has created you. And that no matter the place, no matter a lack of welcome, being alone or isolated, being with crowds of people, being joyous, being hopeful, God is with you.
In this Christmas season, may we celebrate our story. May we tell our story. And in the telling of that story, may we find true joy, true hope, for every moment, every season of our lives.
Merry Christmas, dear friends, and may you feel God’s presence with you this season and always.