Saint James Anglican Church

Joseph Howe Drive at the Armdale Rotary, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada             


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Advent and Christmas 1998

 

THE BIRTH IN TIME OF THE TIMELESS CHRIST OF GOD

 

Dear Friends:

This time last year I attended an elementary school Christmas concert at the school of our youngest child. The sixth grade class performed a segment entitled "Christmas Around the World." Through music and drama, the sixth graders reminded the audience that Christmas celebrations vary from one culture to another. Christmas music, family traditions, the manner of gift giving, the Christmas table fare, each of these often bear a very definite cultural stamp. That sixth grade pageant, so wonderfully performed, got me thinking about the great diversity of Christmas experiences. The fact is, the manner and "feel" of Christmas shows considerable variation from time to time, culture to culture, and place to place. Even at an individual level there exists a wide variety of circumstances and situations with regard to the celebration of Christmas. The season may mean travel for some; for others it may mean receiving travellers and guests. The holiday may mean a time of rest and recreation for some; for others it may mean stress and deadlines. Christmas may bring a sense of satisfaction and contentment for some; but for others the holiday may be characterized by disappointment and want.

 

There is, however, one eternal gift at the centre of our Christmas celebration. The birth in time of the timeless Christ of God is at the very heart of the church's proclamation this season. The celebration of the nativity of our Lord places all our transitory hopes and fears within the cradle of God's enduring and steadfast love. Customs may vary and feelings may rise and wane; but the love of God in Christ cuts across the borders of time and circumstance. However, what is most remarkable about this timeless gift is the way in which Christ redeems each particular time. Notice the message of the gospel accounts of the nativity of Jesus. They tell of a universal message of peace and everlasting Divine favour; but this message enters into the concrete world of a poor stable, a shepherd's field, a foreign occupation, a tyrant's reign, longing magi. Their time, our time, all times, the love of Christ redeems. May the peace of David's city be with us always.

 

The Reverend Rod Gillis