Isn’t it wonderful to hear the familiar stories of Christ’s birth? Isn’t it fantastic that we, yet again, get to live into and read about how God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son? The story of the angels and the Wise Men is like a blanket with which we can wrap ourselves and the traditions of the church are like a cup of hot chocolate that we can drink.

After a stressful year in the parishes in Regina, it is comforting to come back to this time and rest in such a message of positivity and hope, that Emmanuel “God is with us”, actually is with us.

I wonder if Mary and Joseph, or the Wise Men and the shepherds, had the sense that change was looming on the horizon.  God is doing something that he has never done before. God is going to break out of the boxes and the comfortable, familiar ways that we have grown to know and love. 

I have that feeling this year. Things will be radically changing for our Anglican parishes in Regina in the next few years and we don’t have a clear idea how that will look. It is understandable to be anxious or worried, but Emmanuel translates to God IS with us, not God WAS with us. This is where faith is tested.
Can we enter into uncertainty as the shepherds and Wise Men did, with joy and hope?

I pray that we can, for God loves us. However, it is a love that challenges us to be our best selves. It is a love that is so profoundly transformative that it can’t help but
 cause us to try and imitate his love to those around us.

I pray that the joy of this season may lead you to draw more deeply from the well of God’s love, and that God’s love will continue to work in you the miracles that it
already has started.

My friends, God is with us. Let us rejoice and be glad in him.

Michael Bruce+