December 25, 2021 | by Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
How wonderful and lovely the Christmas story is. As Christians we believe that the story is true. That on one splendid and wonder-filled night a virgin gave birth to a baby, angels sang glorious songs of praise to God for the birth of this child of God, shepherds witnessed it all, that a star shone with splendor in the midnight sky as a bright sign that God had appeared among mortals. As persons of Christian faith, to this day we believe that the glorious story of Christmas is true and faithful.
We have received the passionate witness of those who have gone before us and known, loved and served the one called Emmanuel, God who is with us. Year by year we await the birth of the Christ Child with an expectant heart; hearts that yearn for love, joy, and peace. For an eve and a day life slows down, Creation itself seems to ponder the blessing that has come. But perhaps it is us who set aside the busyness of our lives long enough to notice Creation that first welcomed the One called Emmanuel – Jesus, our Messiah, and to this day carries the imprint of his glorious birth from generation to generation.
My earliest memory is that of being a child and hearing the Christmas story from my father as my sister Elizabeth and I helped him prepare the Christmas tree for our church. When the tree was all adorned and its lights were lit, I remember feeling awe and wonder and believing in my young heart that God did love us.
To this day I remember the experience of being embraced by the heart of Christmas – God’s own love for each and every one of us, and all of Creation! Life has brought its pain and suffering, grief, and despair, but nothing can take away the sustaining grace of God’s love for us. All will be well because the heart of God is love.
Our waiting will not be in vain. Our waiting is blessed with sightings of the glory of God when we join God, Jesus our Lord, the Holy One among us in the work of healing and wholeness, the restoration of humanity and Creation, a commitment to justice that depends not on human laws but on the perfect love of God, a love beyond our understanding but not beyond our knowing for God the source of love is with us!
So, friends, beloved ones of God, be blessed on this Christmas. Do not lose hope for we are not alone, never have been alone. God who has forever loved us is with us and will always hold us in his heart.
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño is Resident Bishop of the San Francisco area and the California-Nevada Conference of The United Methodist Church.