Dear People of Grace,
In a little village two thousand years ago, a child was born that changed history. My story has been profoundly changed by His birth. My family, my way of being in the world, my vision of what is important, and what isn’t, are all shaped by a life begun in that humble birth in a far corner of the world so long ago.
I often think of Mary this time of year. She was simply courageous to trust that God was going to work out all of the impossible realities of her life: living under Roman occupation, a young woman engaged and now pregnant with a promise that sounded inflated and strange.
How many Mary’s say no? If an angel (a messenger in Greek) showed up and proposed the impossible to you, would you say yes? Would you follow the promises of God? Would you be so courageous?
We are well trained pragmatists. We want assurances and guarantees. We buy name brands because they imply reliability. We probe our politicians, and we hedge our bets. We just don’t leap into the arms of faith very often. But Mary did.
What if you leapt this year? You are being called by God to do extraordinary things. Maybe they are not great or spectacular things, but you are called to play a part in the great play of God. Be courageous!
Here at Grace we prepare our hearts by our Welcome, Worship, Study, and Service. We say our routine yeses in our faithful devotion to these areas of church life, but they are always a preparation for the day when you wake up and an angel is sitting at the foot of the bed, and it is your turn to leap.
When Gabriel comes, I want to be prepared. Whether he comes with a trumpet next time or a whisper, I want to have ears that can hear. I want to be ready to receive God’s joy.
Come and join us for our Christmas services. Christmas Eve begins at 4:00 p.m. The service is preceded by carols and includes a children’s pageant Gospel and full Eucharist. Grace Harmony will provide the music. At 8:00p.m. and 10:30p.m., there will be more formal Christmas Eucharist led by choir and brass, with all the rich formality of the Episcopal Church. I first came to the Anglican tradition at All Saints in Phoenix, Arizona, bright with poinsettias and the trumpets of the midnight service, and I still love it. On Christmas morning there will be our 10 a.m. service of simple Christmas joy.
As we mark a simple birth so distant and ancient, we commit ourselves to incarnating, making flesh the Grace of God coming to us here and now, shaping our lives, our families, and our ways of being. Our worship overflows with joy as we celebrate God’s Grace. It’s our way of life.
The Very Rev. Daniel P. Richards