The love that we have always known, our constant joy and endless light, Now to the loveless world be shown, now break upon its deathly night. Into one song compress the love that rules our universe above;

Sing love, sing love, sing God is love, sing love, sing God is love!

From “Before the Marvel of This Night” by Jaroslav Vajda

Grace and Peace to you!

I am writing this piece during the week between Christmas and the New Year. This week is always an odd time, we eat gingerbread for breakfast and make room for new things and sometimes—as is the case with my family—we navigate some post-Christmas illness. Many of us spend this week in our pj’s, and time seems to stand still. I know for me this has been a difficult week to navigate because we were not able to gather for our usual Christmas worship services, all in all it has been a bit of a subdued Christmas.

It is during this subdued season that this song by Jaroslav Vajda comes to my mind; it is a reminder that the light of Christ is not confined to one night a year, and it is not dimmed by things like snowstorms; no, the light of Christ shines beyond Christmas and brightens our lives if we just open ourselves to it.

As we begin a new year I know that many of us are feeling anxious—both in our personal lives and anxious about the direction and future of Good Shepherd—at these times when we feel uncertain and anxious, our instinct is to close ourselves off, we want to stay close to what is familiar and avoid the unknown and yet this very season of Christmas leading into Epiphany we are called to do the opposite of shutting ourselves in—we are called to open ourselves up and venture out.

Out into the fields where we may happen upon an angel chorus. Out into the city where we may see a star or encounter learned scholars on their way to visit a baby. We are called out of fear and into the light of a new day, a new way of living!

The light of the world came into the world for such a time as this to break into our deathly night and to place into our hearts a song of love not fear.

My friends, I encourage you this season to take heart in that light. Breathe deeply of the promise that God made in Christ, that God would be present with us in our world and that God would take our sins upon God’s-self. Take heart in the hope that is Christ Jesus and take that hope in deeply so that we may know that there is nothing to fear. Let us be open to the light and live that openness in the way that we treat our neighbors and the stranger.

It is my prayer this season and going into this new year that we be filled with light and that we are able to lift our voices in songs of love that drown out fear.

Amen, Alleluia.

Pastor Jess