Pastor Alison’s Christmas Letter

The theme for our Advent series this year came from a poem that was written on a wall at a concentration camp in Cologne, Germany during the Holocaust:

“I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.
I believe through any trial,
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
my child, I’ll give you strength,
I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while.
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there’s no one there
But I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.
May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace….”

These words of hope seem even more poignant and relevant during these times of pandemic, physical distancing, and polarization. Sadly, all of our lives have been altered in unforeseen ways this past year and are increasingly touched by those near and far that have been affected by this pandemic and are distressed by the toxic political climate in our nation. The other day I read about a Houston physician that died from COViD 19 after dedicating the last months of his life to fighting this illness. This doctor was the medical director of the ICU for Houston Healthcare and his daughter recalled her father’s positive and optimistic outlook on life. When faced with adversity or a challenge her father’s favorite saying was this: “the sun will always rise tomorrow.” His words remind me of Psalm 30:5 — “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

As we consider our ambivalence to the world we live in, as we wrestle with our hopes and fears, we must ask what relevance does the birth of a poor child over two thousand years ago have for us today? The relevance is this: we hope that the child who was born that night, may yet be born again in us and in our longing for him. We know, by the grace that comes through faith, that Christ alone, in the words of W.H. Auden, “comes to our lonely spot behind the eye” and addresses the divine core in us. We also know that in the birth of this Christ child our relationship to divinity shifted. Christ has become our brother because Christ has taken on our human frailty, our human helplessness, and our human lot of one disaster after another and has overcome them. And we know that our real hope at Christmas, or any time of the year, is that no matter what a mess we have made of our lives, no matter what the worst has come to be, God will never give up on any of us.

May this Christmas season be rich with blessings for you and for all of those for whom you care. And may we strive to be channels of grace for each other as we are strengthened by the knowledge that God is with us come what may.
Grace and Peace,

Pastor Alison