A Christmas message from the Primate

Christmas has taken on a very special significance for Lois and me this year as we prepare to celebrate the nativity of our Lord with a new grandson. At Thanksgiving we travelled to Vancouver Island for a parish anniversary and to share in a dinner that the bishop had organized. One of the joys of visiting that part of Canada is that our son David, his wife Jillian and our granddaughter Jessica live there and so we were also able to share in Thanksgiving with them. Our son and daughter-in-law were expecting a child but sometimes our timing isn’t what God (and a baby) have in mind. I was thrilled that our dear little grandson Matthew Thomas Cameron Hutchison, arrived on Saturday October 7 at 11:48 AM, weighing in at 8 lbs. 14 oz. – two weeks before the due date.  Lois was in tears to hear that they had chosen Thomas, as that was her father’s name.

When one unpacks all the various gifts and traditions of this wonderful season it is truly and only about the birth of a child. Jesus – God’s greatest gift of himself comes into the world in absolute simplicity and vulnerability. When, or if, you find yourself lost in the commotion of Christmas, searching for far too many gifts and toys, perhaps these words of the American novelist, journalist, and humorist Oren Arnold will ring true:

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.

I also recognize how difficult this time can be for some. Many people find Christmas to be the most difficult time of the year. Some are trapped in destructive cycles of dependencies, self-doubt or bitterness. Others are overwhelmed by economic and employment questions. For others, frustrations of time, broken relationships and dreams are sources of despair and pain. For those who find this time so difficult I pray that you may experience the hope that Christmas can bring in a unique way this year.

Perhaps you and your family or friends might look to yourselves to bring some of that hope and joy to others – reaching out, as you are able to share gifts of time, talent or money so that no one is left out.

As you worship and hear once again the Christmas story may you be blessed with the eagerness of the shepherds, the joy of the angels, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Joseph and Mary and may the peace of the Christ-child be yours this Christmas. Amen

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