November 22, 2023
My brothers and sisters in Christ, grace and peace be upon each of you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been gathering my thoughts regarding what my theme would be this year for all of you regarding our Thanksgiving/Advent/Christmas letter. After much prayer and discernment, I am excited to share that the title will be “Gift from God”.
This year as many of us gather with our loved ones or even spend the holidays by ourselves, I ask you to think about the gift of God that you are to those you come in contact with. I ask you to think about the gift you have received from God as we prepare ourselves once again to celebrate and welcome Him into our hearts and minds.
Have you thought about what a gift you are to those you come in contact with? How about the gift you have received from God given for all of humankind?
In an article written by Robert McNamara, “The Human Person as a Gift”, St. John Paul II argues that we can know that creation is not merely a gift but a ‘radical gift’, since creation is an act of giving wherein both the gift and the receiver of the gift come into being through the giving of the gift. This means that the gift of creation reaches down into the very roots of finite beings so that ‘every creature bear within itself the sign of the original and fundamental gift’. Consequently, one could say that what is most true of creatures, precisely as creatures, is that they are gifts, good gifts given by the Creator”.
You have been given the gift of life and you share the gift of life with others. You may have children; you may be mother and father line figures to friends, even the youth in our church. You are an inspiration to all who know you and come to know you. You are a role model, a friend and brother and sister in your faith community and you not only are a receiver of the gift of life as you welcome Jesus, but you also share the gift of life given to you by Jesus. You are a gift to many as you enter this world impacting the lives of those you come in contact with. We grow, live, eat, laugh, and cry together. We communicate, love, support, and comfort one another. We are physically present even when our presence may no longer physically exist.
As I write to you, this time of year causes us to reflect on those special people in our lives who have had a profound impact and those who have perished and have gifted each of us with lasting memories. For all, this time of the year reminds us of those whom we love, the gifts of life that have graced us with their existence and no longer physically exist but live on in our hearts. The gift of life is precious, and God has given each of us the opportunity to make a profound impact on those we come in contact with.
In just a few weeks we will celebrate the birth of God’s gift for each of us. We will welcome the Son of God, the Word of God, the King of Kings, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the I AM, the Lamb of God who will take away the Sins of the World, O Come O Come Emmanuel. Let us prepare ourselves to welcome Him as we receive our Lord and Savion who will live in, with, and among us.
Like each of us, He will make a profound impact on the lives of those He will meet and those who will come to learn about Him. Let us prepare the way of the Lord, let us humbly accept of gift as we await His coming. Enjoy your loved ones this holiday season. Enjoy your community of faith in the weeks ahead as we celebrate what society has come to phrase “The most wonderful time of the year”. We live! God has given us the gift of life! Let us cherish every moment and live life to the fullest in the image of God.
Give thanks and praise to the gift you are and the gift that you will receive. The gift that will accompany you in your journey in life will provide you with comfort and might, and will deliver you from every evil. This will teach you to love unconditionally and lead by example, and that gift will sacrifice His life for you as you are welcomed into His kingdom. Are you ready to welcome the reason for the season? Are you ready to receive Jesus with open arms in your life?
Happy Thanksgiving to you, a blessed advent journey as we prepare ourselves with hope, peace, joy, and love anticipating the arrival of our gift. Merry Christmas to you as we gather as one family in the body of Christ proclaiming with the angels what we have heard on high, echoing their joyous strains, on bended knee the birth of Christ the Lord, the new-born King given for you.
And a blessed New Year.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Jonathan J. Recabarren, Pastor