“Behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ
the Lord”. (St. Luke 2:10-11)
Dear Parish Family,
This is the first Christmas letter I have the privilege of writing since Jerryann and I moved to Mayne Island, and it is with the knowledge that we have found a true home in this lovely community. We feel so blessed to be here. We have encountered warmth and generosity from so many. We have shared
countless meals in people’s homes, many of which include families from the summer residents of our parish as well as those who live here year round. We have experienced so much kindness and good will from the plethora of social groups on Mayne. Even our dog Muppet’s tail hasn’t stopped wagging since we’ve arrived.
I find however that drawing close to the Christmas season, one is certainly mindful of things that have happened during the past year. The realization comes that for many this season can also be very difficult. Having made some acquaintance with our community, my sense is that some people’s lives have been fraught with uncertainly and sadness. I was amazed, for example, to discover just how many people here struggle with day to day needs, and who are trying their best just to put food on the table.
There are some in our community who have experienced major health changes which have added
tremendous stress on family and loved ones. Some have had to move reluctantly off the
island in order to receive a necessary new level of care. We are also mindful of those who have lost loved ones this past year, and where for some the feelings of loss may only be exacerbated by a world that wants to celebrate and be festive.
Where might Christmas be in these worlds?
Perhaps the declaration from the archangel to those early shepherds has something to say to this. To be sure, the angels were declaring a message that would be heard over the generations, of a Divine light which had finally come into the world. A light that has the power to banish darkness. Perhaps also those words were reminding the simple shepherds that God was going to be with them no matter what. Their lives, after all, were a humble day to day existence where there was very little support to meet the challenges before them. They didn’t know what might be coming around the corner. They had very
little sense of the future. All they had was the care of their sheep. Perhaps when that quiet song of ‘joy’ was heard, for the first time they finally knew that their lives were being taken care of, and no matter what challenges lay ahead – it was with the affirmation that the long awaited Messiah was choosing to dwell with the people God loved.
Yet is so much of our own story, isn’t it? There are endless challenges before us. They never seem to stop. There are endings of things that are familiar and beginnings of things unknown. But in Jesus Christ,
God-incarnate – we allow these endings and beginnings to take on a much wider definition of our own meaning and purpose in lives which celebrate a love that is ultimate and everlasting. This is Christmas.
Jerryann and I, have felt this love in a wonderful way through this church and community family. I believe this has been the guiding force for us, and I have every sense that this is the same love that will carry us all into new places and into new futures. It is in this promise that ‘Jesus abides’ revealing once more the deeper meaning of this blessed season.
May God’s blessing and joy be upon us all during this sacred time and let is all be mindful of the needs of others. Behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.
We pray that amidst the clamour, you will find the deep and quiet sustaining joy of Christmas in your heart
Love and Blessings,
Blair and Jerryann
If you are able, please join us for our worship celebrations this year. For those of our church family who live off Island during the winter, may you have a Blessed Christmas and thank you for your continued generosity.
We are looking forward to celebrating many traditions that have been fostered here at St. Mary’s over the years. They include:
Sunday, December 17th, 10:00 am, Lessons and Carols, followed by Parish Bake Sale
Sunday, December 24th, 7:30 pm, Christmas Eve Service
Monday, December 25th, 10:00 am, Christmas Day Service