Dear Friends,

On the third day of Christmas, Claudia finally got around to writing a parish epistle!  As you can imagine, life has been full the last couple of days as the Christmas season generally is. In addition to normal busy-ness I had an unexpected opportunity to see my sister who came up from Mexico for a few days.

If you came to one of the Christmas Eve services, you know how lovely they both were, and well attended, which is encouraging.   This year we will be blessed with two Sundays in Christmas, kind of a Christmas version of a blue moon!   More opportunity to sing beloved carols, so we hope many of you will take advantage of this extra blessing.  The second Sunday, 3 January, being the first Sunday of the month, will mean Evensong with a light supper afterwards.  So, if you want to sleep in, join us at 5:30 p.m.

One of the unexpected “blessings” that came with this “job” the last six months has been the writing of this letter each week.  I put blessings in quotes because we usually associate the idea of a blessing with something positive and this seemed a somewhat onerous chore.  I admit that I have approached this task with trepidation each week, but at the same time, it has made me sit down and pay attention to the upcoming Sundaylections and the events of parish life.  It has made me take stock of our situation and give it serious thought, musings of which I have tried to pass on to you.  I suspect this will be my penultimate epistle.  I have appreciated the comments from many of you and that has been a blessing, (no quotes!).

We don’t know when Jesus was born exactly, but, somewhere along the line the decision was made to celebrate His birth at this time of year…for a lot of reasons.  But, the one most important theologically, I believe, is for the emphasis on light.  Jesus is the light of the world.  Without our modern reliance on electricity, it is dark and cold.  (Our furnace was out for several days recently, so I know how cold it has been.)  The ancients feared the lack of light and truly appreciated its gradual return.  They held all kinds of rituals this time of year celebrating the return of light to their lives, especially those who lived in the northern climes.

One of today’s readings says, Jesus is the light of the world and “in Him there is no darkness at all.”  It is all about being positive and having hope.  I believe that is us.  We are near the end of our season of darkness.  We are entering our season of hope.  Be thinking about the direction you would like to see our parish go.  We will very soon have new leadership in the person of our priest-in-charge and will be electing a few new vestry persons.  We will be setting an agenda for 2016.  We need your involvement, in whatever way God is calling you to be involved.

“What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men; and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it.”  John 1:4-5.

Happy New Year, one and all.

In Christ,

Claudia Ward, Senior Warden
All Saints’ Episcopal Church