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I'll Be Home For Christmas

January 3, 2018

Banner for Trinity Community Update, January 4, 2018

It was such a joy to have Trinity Church filled to the rafters for Candlelight Carols, Christmas Eve services, and the Jubilee Day concert on New Year’s Eve.  All of us feel buoyed up by the sight of so many people, whether in the hushed quiet of “Silent Night” or the rousing strains of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, the light of a single candle or the blaze of hundreds of poinsettias.


One of the particular joys is seeing families and friends brought together for the holidays, coming from far away to be together, sharing memories and new joys, grieving those no longer present, and facing into a new year with the hope that is born each year in the beloved Christmas story.  For Trinity to be part of that “home” is a privilege and a responsibility that we have as a community.


The Christmas story tells of a new family far from home, seeking shelter with animals and then fleeing into a foreign land for safety.  Our instinct to be with those we know and love is understandable, and it is also broadened as we reflect on Jesus’ humble beginnings.


In these especially bitter cold days, our thoughts turn to those whose homes are makeshift, uncertain, and unfriendly.  As we consider how we as a community of faith learn to reflect the light of God’s love, we renew our commitment to making Trinity a truly welcoming home for all who seek to know that love.  Sometimes this may take us out of our normal comfort zones.  It may challenge us to think about new ways to express that love, as we build relationships outside the usual connections of blood and marriage and friendship.


This coming Sunday we will observe the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord and welcome seven new persons into a life of the baptismal covenant.  Those being baptized will be surrounded by their parents and relatives, by godparents, and by the gathered community.  They will be “sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever.”  They will become part of a broader family, a family not of blood and marriage, but a family created and united in God’s love.  The gathered community will make promises for their care and nurture, promises that generally the world outside is not interested in making.


It is counter-cultural to promise to care for those who are not related by blood or marriage, persons for whom we do not have contractual obligations as the world understands such.  But it is the bedrock of our Christian faith that God has redefined families, that the bonds are reimagined, that the obligations and joys of family extend beyond the definitions of clan and tribe.


As we yearn for the warmth of home for all of God’s children, let us recommit ourselves to continuing to look for ways to share God’s love with that family.  May the warmth of Christmastide last all year in God’s home.


Wishing you the joys of Christ’s Epiphany,

The Rev. Rainey Dankel

Associate Rector


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