Christmas Came Closer
Last Saturday, Church gathered in a wee church in Nampa, Idaho, specifically, ecclesiastically speaking, in the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho. And it was then and there that a new deacon was ordained into the Episcopal Church. The Reverend Deacon Angela Lerena was ordained and on that day and in that very moment, we moved closer to Christmas. In the days ahead, Angela will exercise her diaconal ministry with care and humility and openness to what the Holy Spirit wishes for and demands of her. And as a “transitional deacon” when the day comes for Angela to be ordained priest, the Holy Spirit will be there expressing her wishes and demands. And it is because that God shows up in all circumstances and contexts that Christmas comes closer.
Monday of this week around 100 people walked in pilgrimage fashion, beginning at St. Paul’s through the streets of Bakersfield. This was Las Posadas. As we walked in procession through the streets, stopping at pubs and eateries and, yes, the Mesa Verde Detention Center (where we were asked to “move on”), we followed Mary and Joseph. We were accompanied by a mariachi band who played ballads of reflection, songs of hope and ditties of love. On this night in Bakersfield, Christmas came closer. On this holy night in Bakersfield Episcopalians walked with Roman Catholics and Congregationalists and United Methodists and Unitarians and people who profess no faith at all, and the faithful from Faith in the Valley and along the way we collected people of many varieties and vintages. It was indeed a holy night and thanks to Luis Rodriguez and many others in Bakersfield, Christmas came closer.
Sisters and Brothers from the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, Christmas is coming closer. And it comes closer every time we extend love, every time we express grace, every time we seek and work towards justice, every time we show compassion. Christmas is indeed coming closer because God is with us!
As we prepare in these final days to enter the Bethlehem in our own lives, may we prepare, truly prepare for the birth of our forgiveness and for the redemption of the world through Jesus.
Christmas comes closer…