From the Pastor's Desk
Greetings! Do you feel the magic in the air? It's the holiday season. Awful things are happening around the world, but bright lights still shine and there is magic galore.
I hope you sense that magic when Christmas Pageants come together and small children remind us what Christmas is all about. There is hope and joy in our story and in our futures. No matter how bleak the winter, the state of our health, or the state of the world, we keep Christmas. No Grinch can steal it; Dr. Seuss knew that well. Evil forces can try to break our spirit, but Christmas comes to Whoville and to Tehachapi no matter what, for Christmas is our coming together despite powers that seek to destroy us. Christmas is the light amid a world in darkness.
For many years, the Christmas Carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem" has, for me, reflected the state of our world. Every year, especially since 9/11/2001, I have found great comfort in its words, "...yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light, the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."
The song was written in 1868 by the Reverend Phillips Brooks, three years after the Civil War ended and our country was grieving the death of about 620,000 of our people, plus the assassination of our president. Long shadows of slavery, oppression, violence and war hung over the country and its cities. Brooks reminded folks of the light within the darkness.
One of Brooks' young friends, Helen Keller, may also have influenced the words to his Christmas song. In one of her letters to Brooks, she wrote about knowing God was with her even when she was living in silence and darkness. Some have wondered if Brooks had Keller in mind when he wrote, "How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is giv'n! So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heav'n. No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in."
Perhaps Brooks had his other friend, Anne Sullivan, in mind when he wrote one of his most famous quotes, "Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle."
We can remain in darkness or we can work miracles of sharing love, acceptance, and forgiveness with others. Let the magic live on and shine through you.