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All I Want for Christmas

The Rev. Dr. William Rich
December 20, 2018

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards all people. 

Luke 2:14

If you could ask God for only one gift this Christmas, what would it be?  Last weekend, thousands of people came to Trinity for Candlelight Carols, and each one brought prayers. Some were conscious and heartfelt, yet others buried so deep that they could not be articulated at all. 

Many who came to Candlelight Carols gave voice to their prayers by writing them on the luminaria that graced our front steps and lit up the night.  Some glorified God by giving thanks for blessings they had received this past year.  Others prayed for peace throughout the world.  One touching prayer I will always remember. “I am here with my wife who has Alzheimer’s.  I am praying for her.”

A beloved Christmas prayer was written 150 years ago this December by someone who was soon to be called as Trinity’s next rector. When Phillips Brooks penned the words of “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” he knew that his parishioners were looking for hope and light in place of the fear and darkness of their time.  The hatred and divisions that had caused the Civil War were barely beginning to mend.  And so he wrote “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Like our forebears in Brooks’ time, you and I will bring our hopes and fears to church this Christmas.   We come to this Holy Child in trust, knowing that he himself embraced our vulnerabilities.  We come to bask again in his unfailing love, knowing that only such Love can save us and heal us.  We come in hope, believing that this Jesus can cast out our fears, and give birth to a Life in us that outlasts all darkness, even death.

So come to church this Christmas.  Let the angels say to you, as they did to the shepherds that first Christmas, “Fear not!”  And let hope bloom in you to replace all fear.  O Jesus, let our hearts leap up together with joy, discovering that your Light is inextinguishable, and no darkness can ever overcome it.

Merry Christmas to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ!




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