I wish I could personally thank those in the early church who decided to designate December 25 as our celebration of the birth of Jesus. Many scholars assert that it is more likely that Jesus was born in the fall or possibly even the spring, but at some point Western Christians officially adopted December 25 as our date to celebrate Christmas.
I find this appealing because it links the celebration of Jesus's birth closely in time to the winter solstice, the shortest (and therefore "darkest") day of our year. This makes the imagery of light and darkness related to Christmas especially powerful for me. As the darkness settles earlier and earlier each day, I find myself most grateful for the lights shining out in our neighborhood; celebrating the coming of the Light that still shines in the Darkness and is not overcome by It.
Similarly, I am grateful for our congregation, and all the ways that you choose to bring Light to dark places. An appeal goes out to collect blankets for Syrian refugees, and with only a few days' notice the collection boxes overflow in our hallway. Through your support of ACCA, 32 families at the Child Development Center had bountiful Thanksgiving feasts. Looking to the future, a strong desire is emerging (voiced in our recent Congregational Conversation) to understand and meet a specific need in our community. These are only a few of the most recent examples that come to mind. As we look to the coming year together, I pray our light will continue to shine, as we follow the Light who came and abides with us still.