Dear Friends in Christ,
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5.2
Susan Wojciechowski’s book The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is about a lonely, brooding wood carver, haunted by the loss of his wife and child. He left his home, travelling “until his tears stopped” in an escape from the pain, finally landing in a small cottage at the edge of a small village. Grumbling and stooping under the weight of his heavy heart, he dismisses the company of others. Finally, through the innocent and guileless badgering of a young boy named Thomas, for whom the craftsman is carving a nativity set, Jonathan Toomey is able to confront the hurt he thought he had fled. The miracle he discovers is that light can shine through the cold darkness of a heart that has shut out the hope of ever knowing joy and peace and love again.
What is the connection with that story and the quote from Micah? The prophet Micah, distressed with the worldly splendours of the great city of Jerusalem and the corruption that surrounds him, turned to Bethlehem, a modest village with a rich history, a decent economy but not much else, and declared it to be the place out of which the future hope of Israel would come. And it did. In a dark, crowded stable, away from the royal palaces and holy temple of Jerusalem, God chose to empty Himself into the very lives of humanity. In the place least likely for it to happen – a dark little grotto in an overcrowded village – God became one with us, so that we might become one with God.
In the dark quiet of Advent, where the light of day comes late each morning and flees early each evening, we wait. We wait for the coming again of the glory of Christ, the light of the world. We wait for an end to the uncertainty that seems to surround our world. From the reality of what was, to the promise of what will be, we watch and we wait for the light that shines in the darkness, trusting that, try as it might, the darkness will never overcome it. The miracle will continue to be born, shining its light into every corner of our heart.
I offer my profound thanks to you – each one of you – for your support and generosity in these months of pandemic protocols and closures. You are what makes St. John’s a place of faithful witness to the promise of God in Jesus. Your contributions of both time and treasure have allowed us to be the Church for a world looking for some light amidst the darkness.
Wishing you a blessed Advent and Christmastide filled with peace, hope, and the promise of miracles in places least expected.
Yours faithfully in the service of Christ,