Rev’d Janet’s Christmas Letter to St. John’s
St. John’s Christmas Letter 2017 from Reverend Canon Janet Lynall
Greetings and blessings! Sharing Christmas memories is a special part of Christmas and I’d like to share this one with you.
At a young age one Christmas my older brother and younger sister and I had the great honour and responsibility of selecting a fresh evergreen tree. To be given this task was an accomplishment in its own right because my parents had recently purchased a green plastic tree – a novel new consumer trend! My parents were naturally reluctant to see us waste money on a real one.
Having won them over and being given the $2.00 needed to purchase one, we set off. After scrutinizing for eternity the YMCA forest of trees for sale, we made our decision. A fine, full tree was chosen and we were quite proud of the fact that we could almost nicely close the trunk and fit it all in. Had God ever made a finer pine tree? Well I can’t adequately capture my parent’s response when they saw the bush we brought home. Tears of laughter, disbelief and after all this, a kind but firm directive to get back in the car with our bush and father to try again. This was accompanied by a lecture on the proper dimensions of a Christmas tree. Clearly, we had not got close to the $2.00 worth of tree! I wonder to this day, did someone take that little Christmas tree bush home after we returned it and adorn it with ornaments and praise?
Why is it that the stories of things going awry sometimes take hold in our hearts? You can cook a perfect turkey every year but likely the year you forgot to defrost it in time and raced to the store to find fresh turkeys sold out so you buy the TV turkey dinners, will be the story you tell.
Christmas will never be perfect. We will not give or get the perfect gifts. We will not be the perfect hosts nor our visitors, the perfect guests. Apple cider will be spilt on the carpet and an ornament or two will be smashed. One guest’s enthusiasm for canasta may clash with another’s passion for hockey night in Canada! We will not cope particularly well with slippery roads and snow squalls, nor grace one another with patience in the shopping mall parking lot. And we will buy lopsided trees, or perfect trees whose imperfections only show up in the warm glow of our living room lighting. But we will have a good Christmas and a holy Christmas if we remember who we are and in whose image we are made. We will be kinder to ourselves and to one another and cherish not a dream of what Christmas ought to be but what the Christmas upon us is. For “unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given” who is Jesus Christ the Lord! This love is for all of us.
Some of you may remember The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday nights. Ed Sullivan’s Christmas specials were wonderful and here I thought, was the perfect Christmas. It later surprised me to read in his autobiography that at the age of 16 during World War 1, one cold Christmas Eve, he couldn’t’ stop shivering, hiding alone, in a railroad box car wondering if he’d make it to Christmas Day. Much later, he recalls Christmases during World War 2, entertaining the troops overseas and feeling this was the most important work he’d ever done.
This Christmas may be everything you want it to be or it may, go awry. Hang in there! It’s about the wonder and mystery of God’s love. How did God fit all that into a little baby in a manger? You don’t have to understand it, you just have to hear about it and let it settle in your mind and heart. This little baby Jesus, born in a humble place into a family not unlike yours and mine, grew and learned, risked and loved, believed and was obedient unto death. He knew without doubt a child of God is forever in the love and care of One who will not fail you. Even if we think we have failed others, our Lord, or ourselves we are not lost to His love. Let Christmas be for you a reminder you are loved, you are cherished.
We have to relinquish our expectations for perfect Christmases. I hope you have your hearts desires, but neither you nor your family and friends will be perfect participants. Simply the lack of sleep may be enough to unravel some of your Christmas plans! A temporary lapse of memory may make you forget a gift, an offering at a pot luck affair, or something unexpected and painful can happen, but the good news is, Christmas is about God embracing human life, with all its shortcomings, mistakes and struggles and grief. Please take care of yourself this holy season. If this Christmas season is not all it was in former years, know that you are not alone. To live fully means to sometimes be in pain. In God’s time all the joy and wonder of the past and more, will come again to us. Expect it! The baby Jesus miracle is here among us.
Come and Celebrate Your Life Blessed and Redeemed In His Glorious Birth
St. John’s Christmas Eve Day Services
10:30 A.M. Christmas Eve Day Lessons And Carols
7:30 P.M. Christmas Carols 8:00 P.M. Candlelight Holy Communion
Christmas Day 10:30 A.M. Holy Communion And Carols