Dear Family and Friends,
This Christmas is extra special to me because I was completely prepared to celebrate it in heaven! Last August the chances of my being here in September were not something a gambler would have bet on! God had other plans thanks to all of your prayers. Even when I thought I might just possibly be alive I never even hoped that I would still have the strength to continue as pastor of St Mary and Our Lady of Hope. It is just those kinds of experiences, that seem like they can’t possibly happen, that shout out to those who are listening “God is here”!
I have been blessed in my lifetime to have all kinds of Christmas experiences that announced the presence of Jesus. Growing up in a large family where there were limited resources we were blessed to have many people who blessed us with Christmas gifts. Not only from outside the home but within our family. My brothers and sisters who were working spent much of their small incomes making Christmas special for us little kids! It was exciting to open those packages and know that someone was thinking about me when there was little or nothing I could do for anyone.
Over the years in ministry I have had the privilege of being caught between the generosity of givers and the joy and gratitude of receivers. Especially in the years in the Mt Pleasant area, where we were in the midst of poverty, I was able to bring gifts, food, and financial support from generous people like you to those in need. You gave the gift, I saw the tears of thankfulness and heard the “Thank you Jesus” come from the mouths of those who received what was unexpected.
When my churches in the city closed I had no idea where I would go or what God would want from me as a minister. My plans were to be in the city throughout my priesthood. Since my plan ended I have been more open to the plan of God so His could be the only plan. Since that point I am surprised, amazed, wondering, humbled, and awed by each day. I don’t know what will happen next but I know it is in good hands. What a different kind of joy in living somewhat out of control but more confident than when I thought I was in control. Though it is not always easy and pain free, there is within a peace that comes from knowing whatever the circumstances “GOD IS HERE”. That is the message of Christmas ! It may not be ‘merry and bright” but when we recognize Emmanuel (God is with us) it doesn’t matter anymore. Christmas is “blessed”
Blessed Christmas to you
And thanks for all you do!
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