Christmas Message From Bishop Singh
I am so grateful to God and to you for the privilege of celebrating my first Christmas with you.
When I started my ministry I was on my first tour as a priest and I had many villages and congregations to take care of. This was in India. One of those churches didn’t have a building.
We met on Christmas Eve in a hut that had a large room and the adjacent space was a stable. There we were celebrating the Eucharist with the wafting smell of a stable. While we were there, I remember very clearly we heard a lamb, a cow mooing, and a donkey braying. All that was a part of the Incarnation story as we know it. It gives me pause as we come to this Christmas in 2022.
I have a few prayers. I pray that we will listen deeply. We are living in a time when there’s so much noise and it is very easy to get carried away with whatever noise is coming at us.
The Christmas narrative is filled with individuals and groups listening deeply. Marry listened. Joseph listened. Their shepherds listened. Their Magi listened. Even the angels listened. In the midst of the listening, there was a new birth. A birth that changed everything for us as we know it.
In this divided world where there is so much noise. Some of it is about calling people out, calling people names, and just working on the vitriol of this season. We as people who follow Jesus have an opportunity to listen, listen deeply, listen to heal, listen to love, and listen toward joy.
The second prayer that I have is that we will be joyful. Joy is not based on our reality. Joy is based on God’s presence in our lives. Paul says rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to God and known to all. The Lord is near. It is the nearness of God that gives us the opportunity to rejoice. I pray that we will choose joy.
In choosing joy we will also come to the third part of my prayer; Do not be afraid. It is a refrain throughout scripture. The shepherds heard it from the angels, do not be afraid, for see, we bring you good news of great joy to all people not just to some.
My prayer is that we will be filled with courage not because we’re not fearful, but because we have faith in a God who is with us. May you have a blessed Christmas and may God bless you. May God’s blessing be pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing.
Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Reposted from the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan Blog.