Saint James Anglican Church

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


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Rector's Message

Previous messages


Learning The Liturgy - BCP

Learning The Liturgy - BAS

Question of the Week


Advent and Christmas Letter



Merry Christmas One and All!


This year, as I have been speaking with people about this Christmas season, I have been intrigued to listen to what people say as they ponder the time. For some the response is a resounding, "I am so excited about Christmas I can hardly wait!" For others there is the refrain, 'l just can t seem to get into the Christmas spirit this year' Both of these responses then call for further reflection on what is, or what is not, the "Christmas spirit."


What is Christmas for you and your loved ones? I imagine that every person will have a slightly different answer, and therein lies the wonder and complexity of our whole identity as a Christian community. Not every one thinks exactly the same way and each person has aspects of the faith that speak to them more clearly than others.  That variety and "un-pinned-down-ness" is what makes our Faith Community so wonderful.


As we each prepare for Christmastide, and as the Church prepares as well, we bring into this holy and
sacred season the wonder of what we hope for, the ways we interpret what has already come, and the grace of the present moment, as we embrace the mystery of the Incarnation - God here among us, in our midst as one of us.


When we gather on Christmas Eve we will hear the stories and sing the carols which tell us, once again, of that miraculous night over two thousand years ago when God came down in the form of a child to be present in our human condition.  However, we sell ourselves short if we simply rest in those stories and neglect to continue growing in our understanding of the essence of the Christmas story.  The great miracle of Christmas is not just that of the boy-child lying in a manger, but rather in the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives every single day. The incarnation is a Christmas gift that is given to us day after day if we are willing to open it up and allow it to become part of our lives, our very selves.


As we ponder that question echoing the halls of malls and streets around us, "Have you caught the Christmas Spirit?' we all need to give some thought to what that spirit looks like for us.  Is it the excitement of seeing a loved one's face when they open the gift you found that's perfect for them?  It could be, at least in part.  Is it the joy of passing the stuffing and sharing a cup of Christmas cheer with family and friends on Christmas Day?  Maybe.   Or is it the feeling of love and hope that comes in knowing that God has given Himself to us, not just on one special day of the year but all throughout our lives? I pray that this is the greatest Christmas Spirit you will come to know.


This Christmas season brings with it hopes and joys and all kinds of emotions and memories but it also brings with it the Promise that Jesus is with us always.  No matter how much o{ the traditional Christmas Spirit you have picked up by now, I pray that as you continue along your own faith journey you will find the Spirit of joy that comes in knowing that Jesus Christ is alive and well and dwelling in your life and in your heart.  When that indwelling truly occurs, then you will really have the Christmas spirit. which lasts year round!


May God bless you and keep you and may you truly have the Christmas Spirit!


Rachael Parker+

Rector - St. James, Armdale