Saint James Anglican Church

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


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Rector's Message

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Christmas 2012

 

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ at St. James,

 

It is my sincere pleasure to be writing to you as we prepare through this Season of Advent and celebrate in joy the glories of Christmas. As we gather each week, we gradually light our Advent Wreath candles, symbolizing the growing light of Christ into our lives. Through worship and prayer, voices raised in songs and shared over coffee following worship, we come together, assisting each other in our preparations for the coming of Christ into our lives and into the world. There is so much goodness and joy that God is sharing with us. It is our pleasure and joy to share God's gifts with each other and the world around us.

 

As a child, I always looked forward to the Christmas season because it meant that gifts would be showered and fun would be known. As I grow older I still look forward to those gifts, but - amazingly enough - the gifts have taken on new form. Now, as I look around the Church and the congregation I am overwhelmed at the true gifts that are shared: our young people formally beginning their faith journeys through Confirmation, the toddler who yells out "Yay" in appreciation of a song well sung by our Choir, the new people in our midst and the faithful who have been here for years. And just when I think that things can't get any better, I am moved to tears by the compassion of one who whispers in my ear that So-and-So could use a visit, or when someone yells out a Life Event that makes us all laugh and appreciate the family that is the Congregation of St. James, Armdale.

 

In this Christmas Season there is much that pulls us away from remembering who we are as Christians. The world is noisy. Our lives are hectic. There are cards to be written, gifts to wrap, people to visit, food to prepare. All of these things are a part of our Christmas traditions and must be honoured. However, what must come before, during and after all of these "new" traditions, is the reason why we are here. We must take time to appreciate Christ in our lives. Whether we sit as a family and read the Nativity Story from St. Luke, or we venture out on Christmas Eve to gather with like-minded folk who want to sing the carols and hear the story, we are called, each and every one of us, to put Christ first.

 

Take time this Christmas Season to simply take time. Offer to God your prayers of Thanksgiving for the boy child born in a manger who grew to be our King and Saviour. Open your hearts that you might make room for the true gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love that are given so freely to you by God through Jesus. And last, but certainly not least, open your hands that you might freely pass on those same gifts to everyone you meet: family, friends, co-workers and even the stranger on the street. You will find that the more of these gifts you give away, the more you find you will receive. For in giving, we receive, and that is one of the great truths of the Christmas gift of Jesus. It is through his giving of himself that we receive life. It is our Christmas gift to others to pass on to them the truth, and the gift of life that Jesus has freely given.

 

May God bless and keep you in these Advent and Christmas Seasons and in the year to come. We look forward to seeing all of you throughout the holidays and in 2013 as well!

 

Rachael Parker+

Rector - St. James Anglican Church, Armdale