" H e y   A l l "
           Notes from the Vicar of Grace
              inclusion service discovery gratitude
The Rev. Bill Harper

Hey All.

As you might guess, Christmas-the whole of the season, from early Advent through each of the 12 days-is a tender time for me.  I seem to feel more; think more; worry, wonder, and fuss more.  I don't mind all that extra emotion and reflection.  Somehow it's good for me-enlivens me.  I am more real, somehow.  Which, of course, is what the season is really about-helping us to live real lives, as real people.  That's the Incarnation-God as Real Person.

And  there's the irony, right?  A season that invites us to be real, honest, flesh and heart people is encased (nearly entombed) in something so amazingly fake.  The cultural embrace of Christmas is what it is, and as I said a few weeks ago, I'm not turning that tide.  I can't.  In 1958 (yep, the year I was born) Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote one of the great, true Christmas poems and he began these simple words:

Christ climbed down

from his bare Tree

this year

and ran away to where

there were no rootless Christmas trees

hung with candycanes and breakable stars


Even 51 years ago voices and poets were  pushing against the fake to get to the real, and it's still the case.  It's worth the push.  Real is good.  That's what the Incarnation is all about: Real Life.  God within the Real World.  Emmanuel.  God with Us.


There are two things that truly enliven me each Christmas-that help me live in the real world.  First, it's the people I get to work with.  The heart and hope, and even zeal, that Candee, Susan, Ann and Debbie put into making Grace Happen inspires me and gives me faith.  The folks who lead and serve here add to that rich experience, and through them Grace is Real.  Secondly, it's all of you.  As I imagine seeing you tomorrow night-seeing friends and family and so many new faces-as I picture us together I end up feeling more real, more true.  There is something in who we are together, as we sing, say our prayers, laugh, serve, that makes not just the season real, but life itself.  Thank you for that rich gift. 


See you soon. Tomorrow night, or on Christmas morning.   And if you are traveling, spread the Real Good News of Grace!


And here's the Christmas schedule if you need a reminder: Christmas at Grace

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