Time slips by in a hurry, does it not? I find it hard to believe that this is the ninth installment of my Christmas missive. Most of my internet friends are aware that I try to keep my "clergy collar" mostly out of sight. I'm more comfortable being just "Harry" than "Reverend Boyd." If this annual missive offends you, feel free to delete now.
We chose not to have a big Christmas tree this year. And our annual Christmas day stop at the home of my aunt and uncle has been canceled since their family will be in Texas with a granddaughter. While decorations and family are always enjoyable, they aren't at all what Christmas means, are they?
Scott Peck tells the story of the old monastery that had fallen on hard times. In its fallen state, there were only three monks left and no prospects of recruits who would come to replace them in the future. Discouraged, the leader of the convent met with a rabbi friend for lunch and shared with him his fear they might one day disband. The rabbi sensed his friend's despair and leaned across the table and whispered, "I have it on good authority the Messiah is among you."
With this stunning news, the surprised monk went back to his fellow monks and shared the good news. In their vow of silence, each of them thought quietly to himself, "I know it's not me, but perhaps one of my two brothers is the Messiah in disguise." Naturally, they began to treat one another with extraordinary deference.
Meanwhile, a young relative came to visit and was so moved by what he experienced, he determined to join the order. Soon others who came to visit were amazed by the extraordinary love shown within this community, their unselfish caring and sharing of all they had stood in stark contrast to the harshness of the world and the emptiness of the materialism of the world. The monastic community began to grow and soon was thriving once again -- all because they thought the Messiah might be among them.
That's what Christmas means. Our Savior is among us. God with us, Emmanuel. Should that not affect who we are and how we treat each other? We are called to whisper to our world, "Psst! I hear the Messiah is working in our midst! Spread the word!" That's Christmas.
So this year, at Christmas, look around for the Messiah. He's here. Right beside you. In front of you. Inside you.
God's best to you, at Christmas
Reverend Doctor Harry Boyd