Grace and peace to you during this Christmas season!
Christmas comes with beautiful traditions like candlelight Christmas Eve services. For me, there is a moment when the candles are lit around the room and everyone gathered is singing the third verse of “Silent Night, Holy Night” that I get teary-eyed reflecting on the birth of the baby who changed everything.
“Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light;
radiant beams from thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.”
(The United Methodist Hymnal #239)
This important hymn ends with five magnificent words that sum up the essence of our Christian theology: “Christ the Savior is born!” As Isaiah 9:6-7 declares,
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NIV)
Unto us He was born, which is why we sing…because He is the true reason for the season.
As I write this letter, I’m wearing my favorite Christmas tie, given to me as a gift, which at first glance looks like a red and white peppermint stick. Upon further examination, it repeats over 20 times in green “Jesus is the reason for the season.” I wear this tie because I believe it, that Jesus IS the reason for not only this season but every season.
2018 has been a year of much joy and sadness, victories and setbacks. Some will weep over loved ones they’ve lost in previous months or years. Some of God’s beloved will be homeless seeking shelter from the cold. Some will drop coins in Salvation Army baskets with the heavy reminder that there are many children in Indiana and around the world who go to bed hungry each night.
My prayer is that we will worship the living God this season who comes to us as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace. May we worship God our Creator and Christ Emmanuel, “God with us”, as we travel and as we work, as we wrap gifts and sing carols.
May our cups overflow with kindness in our speech this Christmas, and may our prayers have a global reach so that all across the world people will experience Jesus as the true reason for the season.
Have a blessed Christmas and a joyous new year!
Bishop Julius C. Trimble