When we remember 2021, we will remember the pandemic and its global effects as wave after wave of illness, lockdowns, missed events and lost opportunities washed over us.
We will also remember that climate change hit parts of our country and world with devastating events like the heat and fires in B.C.; the flooding and landslides that followed; the tornadoes in the southern U.S.A.. We will remember feeling helpless in the face of forces beyond our control that could disrupt the globe so profoundly.
There have always been times when life has overwhelmed the human heart – these are the latest and maybe seem more intense because of the instantaneous capacity to hear the devastating news through all the media channels available around us.
Just when we want to be rescued – when we want a power greater than all the pain around us to swoop in and fix all that is wrong in our world – Just when we cry out in mourning, frustration and pain for God to do something – we find ourselves preparing for Christmas – and we hear again God’s response.
God does not come in power or triumph but in the soft, wail of a baby. God comes – in this most vulnerable way – entrusted to two young adults far from home and caught up in the systems and powers of their own times – and it is enough to change the world. A bevy of angels – a few shepherds doing their work – two faithful elderly worshippers in the temple and some strangers from a foreign country recognize something wonderful and profound has happened – but the fulfilment of the promise will take another thirty years.
In the midst of all that seems to be too much for our hearts in this year – remember the promise begun that Christmas night – in all vulnerability, smallness and insignificance to the powers around. God is here and all shall be well in God’s time.
May the hope, joy, peace and love birthed in Bethlehem fill your hearts and homes this Christmas and always.
The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada
The Rev. Susan Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada