Dear Sisters and Brothers –
Merry Christmas! A special welcome to those who are visiting our church and worship with us this holiday. We are glad you are with us and thank you for helping us celebrate the Nativity of the Lord.
One of my favorite contemporary theologians is Methodist pastor, Steve Garnaas-Holmes. He writes in his poem, Creature:
God said, I love my creatures,
so much that I wish to be with them.
I wish to give myself to them.
I wish to be one of them.
Which one will you be?
the angels asked.
You could be a tree, they said,
for they are long-living and steadfast.
Or will you be a lion,
for they are powerful and without fear?
Might you be a porpoise,
for their playfulness?
Or a bird, for their freedom of flight?
Perhaps you will be an elephant,
for they are gracious and gentle.
Ah, you will be a fungus,
humble and unnoticed but essential.
No, you will be a whale,
great and unseen and full of song.
No, God said, this is not for me
and my delight, nor for my glory.
This is for my creatures.
I will be a human being,
for it is they who need the most help.
I will be one of them,
we will mend ourselves.
And one of my favorite 16th-century theologians, St. Teresa of Avila, “follows” on Pastor Steve’s poem with a prayer that reminds us how we are to mend ourselves:
Christ has no body now on earth, but yours;
no hands, but yours; no feet, but yours.
It is your eyes through which
Christ's compassion looks out to the world;
your feet with which he must walk about doing good;
your hands with which he blesses humanity;
your voice with which his forgiveness is spoken;
your heart with which he now loves.
As Christ was made incarnate for us, so may we incarnate him in a world so in need of the gifts of the Prince of Peace.
On behalf of the entire St. Ignatius Parish pastoral staff, may the blessings of Christmas be yours in abundance.