Celebrating the Birth of Love
Christmas Message from The Rector
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) wrote perfect captivating words for one of the lesser-known hymns about Christmas. I first heard and sang this hymn as a youth chorister at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and it has stayed in my memory. “Love came down at Christmas, love all lovely, love divine; love was born at Christmas: star and angels gave the sign. Worship we the Godhead, love incarnate, love divine; worship we our Jesus, but wherewith for sacred sign? Love shall be our token; love be yours and love be mine, love to God and neighbor, love for plea and gift and sign.”
Christmas, the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, invites us to celebrate the birth of Love. At the newsflash of the birth of Jesus, a multitude of the heavenly host, praised God and said, "Glory to God in the highest heaven!" Not only had Mary, Joseph, and countless souls who longed for the coming of the Christ Child been waiting for the Redeemer and Savior of the world to come and bring peace and an understanding of justice. They lingered for the coming of a radical Way of love that would teach the human family about the prophetic, unconditional, profound, and transformational love of God. In Jesus, they met, and we shall meet again, the love of God that both changes things and leads to the creating the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
This Christmas and always, may we do all things necessary, emboldened with courage, to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2) Our Christian walking in love is the best way to celebrate the birth of Love as the baptized who made a covenant to continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers; persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever we fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord; proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ; seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves; and strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.
The Church, the body of Christ, has work to do in striving daily to fulfill its mission to restore all people to unity God and each other in Christ. More than ever, this hurting world needs the Love that came down at Christmas, and we are the ones who can share and show that Love. Grace-St. Luke’s Vision is to be a thriving community of hope, belonging, and healing through worship, parish life, and service, and who rejoices in the love of Jesus to transform the world.
If you want to reflect in Christmastide or later about this Love and your faith journey, including ways to offer your time, talent, and treasure to support the ministry of GSL, please contact me for a sacred conversation. I hold you in my daily prayers and ask your prayers for me.
Christmas blessings to you and yours.
The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector
901-252-6320 | email@example.com