For several years now I've sent out a Christmas missive to you who are a big part of my life, many of whom I've never met but still call friends. Some of my rod making friends have written asking when this year's message was coming, so perhaps this is over due.
Though I usually limit these little slips into ministerial mode, this year's happenings and horrors have prompted me to "slip on the collar" several times. Most who don't enjoy or appreciate these words are kind enough not to say so. Thank you for your patience and indulgence.
Four times in the events surrounding the birth of the Christ child, God sent the same message to the world through his heavenly heralds. That message wasn't "He shall save His people from their sins," though that was an important message. It wasn't even, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace on those upon whom his favor rests." The message God emphasized to those present at the birth of Jesus was "Fear not." "Fear not." That's a good message for Christmas 2001, as well.
Can Christmas really make that much difference? Can the coming of Christ to our world chase fear away not just from our worlds but from our lives? Yes, with all that is in me, I believe it can. For to say "God is with us" is also to say that "we are with God." Heaven abides in human hearts. Remember that Mary was instructed to call this babe: "Immanuel - God with us."
As this calendar year draws to a close, the liturgical year is new and fresh as Spring. My wish for you all this year is more than tight lines, more than sharp planes, even more than health and happiness. My wish for you all is that you find a few moments on the stream or the lake, in the marsh or the surf, when you can truly "Fear not." My hope is that you will find the God who is all around you. My prayer is that you will find, or be found by that God who is looking for you, whatever name you choose to call him. He often looks out through the eyes of those whom we know and love best, and I often see Him, and hear Him, and read of Him, through you.
Reverend Doctor Harry Boyd, Jr.