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Christmas Day Letter from Patrick



Dear family and friends of First Pres,

Kelly and I send our warmest Christmas greetings to you this glorious day! Today we celebrate the fact that God came down and chose to physically dwell among us in our everyday routines and lives. This is the one fact that separates our Christian tradition from other spiritual traditions as for us, we believe God separated the veil between heaven and earth and became a human being just like you and me.

It’s really quite remarkable if you pause to think about it. The God Who Is, Was, and Is Yet to Come was born a baby Palestinian Jew in order to completely identify with each of our joys and sorrows, as well as all our human physical pleasures and pain.  The power of Christmas lies in the fact Jesus, Immanuel – God with us! – grew up obeying parents like you and me, had siblings that did not always get along with him like you and me, held a job, got sick and was let down like you and me. Jesus enjoyed the festivities of weddings and religious celebrations, as well as the taste of a fine meal. But unlike you and me, he never broke relationship with the Father and Spirit. Why? Because in the baby Jesus, God came down and “the Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14 The Message). What comfort that brings to all of us as we make our way through an oftentimes swirly life. This, my friends, is the Good News of Christmas and what makes our Christian faith so compelling.

Catholic mystic and theologian, Karl Rahner, writes in a beautiful prayer, “You must adapt your word to my smallness, so there it can enter into this tiny dwelling of my body, the only dwelling in which I can live.” And so God did in the Christ child. Today, in the midst of the packages, lights, and your tryptophan-induced naps, let’s all set aside some personal devotional time to think about what Christmas really means to you, our church, and our world this very day! In the midst of all the celebration of today, let’s pause to simply say, “Thank you, Jesus. Help me to remember that on this day of all days that You really get me.”

Finally, please take a moment and thank all the staff and volunteers who have worked so hard to make this Advent and Christmas season so special!

Remember who you are (you are a child of God!). Proclaim Christmas, pray hard, and be the winsome hands and feet of Jesus Christ together!

 

Your pastor and friend,

Patrick