Dear Friends,

Christmas is about the gift.

Not gifts so much or presents but the Gift. I feel the need to capitalize the word. It is a mystical, magical celebration of grace, gratia, gift of life symbolized by a newborn child. Says the angel:

Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 This is “night language” the language of poetry, imagination, and parable. It swells the chest and causes our eyes to brim with tears. We breathe, we sigh; it is Christmas. No matter what forces the world with its Herods and its ruthless one-percenters unleash upon us, the babe in swaddling clothes among the poor is the sign of the human spirit: a goodness, an innocence, a generosity, a laughter of pure joy rings in the voice of an angel and baby’s cry for her mother.

Life is precious. Life carries on. Life is good. A Gift.

The world is going through some difficult times. But then, when has it not? You have been working and worrying hard. Breathe. Receive.   Christmas is for you. May you receive the Gift.

At Southminster we will be honoring the Gift through a variety of events. Thanks to all who make these possible, who serve as midwives to the Gift:

Mike Hogue and his elves of midwifery will set up the Christmas train on December 24th, 26th, 28th, and 30th.

The Christmas Concert featuring the chancel choir, bell choir, and other musicians will be Friday, December 9th.

The Longest Night will honor the dark, the via negativa, the loss, the longing, as we make space for Winter Solstice, December 20th and the surprising Gift we find in the darkness.

On Christmas Eve at five pm the youth and children of Southminster will present “Christmas in Beaverton” on the big screen.

On Christmas Eve at 11 pm we will light candles, hear the story of the Gift, and absorb the music given by the chancel choir, bell choir, and other musicians.

On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, since they both fall on Sunday, the staff has off.   There will be no choir or bell choir, no children’s or adult education. But there will be worship. Michael Hawkins will play organ and/or piano. The services will be simple and joyful, accessible to all ages—a gift for whoever comes.

Good Tidings,

John