Wow, it seems like forever since I sat down to write. The head cold I caught over Thanksgiving dragged on and was then compounded by a very nasty case of food poisoning that left me quite depleted for a long time. While I lumped about – after I began to feel well enough to think – I started to consider some of the resolutions we’ve addressed recently. There are just so many important issues in which to become involved that I hesitate to add one more this week. The last thing I want to do is rush through a list of resolutions and consider that my task has been accomplished just because I have presented these to you! I’d love to hear what you and your congregations are doing in response to some of these issues – World AIDS Day, the Rebuilding Effort for the Cathedral in Haiti, 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. Please consider sharing your thoughts and ideas on our Facebook page!
We’re now just days away from the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, and were it not for the abundance of Christmas lights illuminating the nighttime, it would be very dark, indeed. How fitting the darkness is as we move through Advent awaiting the illuminating birth of Christ for the world! While we can anticipate Christmas joy, many stumble through this season in the darkness of injustice, sorrow and grief with no expectation of light coming in two weeks. Recognizing this disparity between the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations with all their trappings and the reality of everyday life for many of us, many of our congregations offer Blue Christmas services. These are a meaningful way to acknowledge the need for comfort and hope. But, once the service is over, what do we do? How do we minister to those around us? A group of Franciscan friars found a creative solution this year: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/us/finding-god-in-a-storefront-at-the-mall.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0
Our Presiding Bishop’s Christmas message reminds us that we all can strengthen the growth of Christ’s authority through a life offered for others: (http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2013/12/12/presiding-bishops-christmas-message-2013/). This is the message of the resolutions – they are not about the issues; they are all about the people whose lives are impacted by them. What will you do to live the heart of our resolutions this season? Here’s one idea from Episcopal Relief and Development: http://www.episcopalrelief.org/landing/2013/gifts-for-life/?ID=GA13-BR . Many of our congregations fill food baskets, participate in Angel Tree donations, serve Christmas meals for those without family or funds – and all these are very, very good. But what will you do each day to bring hope and light to a hurting neighborhood, community, country or the world?
May we each wake up Christmas morning knowing that we have brought Christ’s light and hope to those around us!
~Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council