“Mary will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you Joseph, will name him Jesus - “God Saves” because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term: Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Emmanuel (Hebrew) for God is with us”. Matthew 1: 21-23 The Message)
A message from The Reverend Rob Luxton, Parish Priest of Old St. Paul's Anglican Church
The message that touches me most about Christmas is that it is about God entering our world in ordinary people’s lives like Mary and Joseph. In Jesus, God reaches out to all humanity. As Frederick Buechner writes, “Those who believe in God can never be sure of him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self- humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of humankind. If holiness and the amazing power and majesty of God were present in this least auspicious of all events, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earth bound but that holiness can be present there too.” God comes to us in unexpected ways. This is true 2000 years ago and it is true today. Jesus comes to us and challenges us to look for him in all people, the rich, the poor, the homeless person, the drug addict, the teacher, the mother, the professional, and the labourer, the young and the old, the disabled, the LGBQ+ community, the Muslim, the Jew, the Indigenous, the agnostic, and literally everybody. We are all created in God’s image and God wants us to be restored and in fellowship with him and one another. This is what the Christmas story reminds me. All people are drawn to the manger to see God among us. Our challenge is to open our eyes and to see God in all people and to share the love God has with everyone. This is not easy and we all fall short but this is the truth we must proclaim and live. Our world needs it.
This is our challenge as Christians living in this time as we approach 2020, and our community of faith at Old St. Paul’s. We face challenges in trying to honour our past and live in the present. We are not alone God is with us, and we need to start treating all people as precious gifts, welcoming them into our community no matter who they are. We are not a club who fights over what belongs to us. We are on a mission to share God’s love with those around us. We are not to live in fear, but with the assurance of God’s love. This is why we welcome people to be a part of our community, why we reach out to those in need, visit those who are sick, pray for ourselves and others. This is why we host the INN of Oxford, now all year around to provide light for people living in a dark place of their lives. This is why we collect funds to buy gift cards to help people have a better Christmas through the Operation Sharing Christmas gift program. This is why we support our Church to help us continue these and other Outreach ministries. This is why we worship each week to help us to continue to be lights to our community. We recently have begun having Taize Services with Bethany Lutheran which are services of prayer, music, scripture and candles. This candlelit atmosphere allows us to be more aware of God’s presence around us and to help us go back into the world to be lights to others. We have them on the 4th Sunday of Each month. Our next one will be on SUNDAY, JANUARY 26, 3 P.M. at Old St. Paul’s. We are thankful for our new organist and choir leader Paul Tree. So I hope you are drawn to Jesus and know that he is with you in all the days of your lives. Please join us this Advent and Christmas Season and each Sunday of the year as we grow in Christ’s love and light.
I, the Rev. Ted Winter and the Rev. Katherine Loynd wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and New Year.