Because many lives get so busy and hectic at this time of year, I decided to send my Christmas message a week ahead…with the hope that you will find a few minutes to read it at some point.

As you may know, Monica Brown, an Australian singer and
musician, is one of my favorite artists.
Many here in the United States do not know her works, but I was originally introduced to her back in 1995 during my Sabbatical at Berakah in New Hampshire. Over the years, she has recorded many songs which evoke depth of meaning on so many levels.
One of her special songs for this time of year is “UNTO US”. But before I get to that song and its meaning, I want you to know that while life is life and will always be filled with both loss and love,
it seems that this time of year tends to exacerbate those
range of emotions.

I don’t know about you, but I find this time of year to be both bitter and sweet. I know many have lost loved ones, struggle with broken relationships, are living with the illness of a loved one…. and so, this season floods you/us with tears of sadness, tears of longing, tears of gratitude as well. I, too, miss loved ones. I, too, wonder if this will “be the last year”.

I also know that many experience pure joy when watching their
children or their friends or family open a special gift, or are awed by the beauty of a decorated tree. Much laughter is shared as we tend to reminisce as well. I, too, love celebrating with children
and loved ones.

There are others whose families live far away or have military
members unable to be home. Still, there are others in nursing homes or who will spend Christmas alone. I, too, have loved ones living far away.

It is within these human experiences that we must cling to the
Promise fulfilled…that a child is born to us.

And in the song, “Unto Us”, there is a reference to God’s promise of endless light and grace being bestowed on us. Those ways are countless, but we often forget just how incredibly blessed we’ve been with the gift of endless light, aka the Christ child.

The song speaks of those who live in the shadows. I think of this aspect often, because in my life as a Dominican Sister of Hope and within the Mission of Hope, we try to go into the shadows and share light and hope with those most in need. There are many who live in the shadows of war, of oppression, of destruction and disasters, of abuse. It is there that we must bring the gift of LIGHT, the gift of HOPE, the gift that is Christmas.

The story we celebrate, the faith many of us live, is about the “miracle of a child savior- as well as the mundane ordinariness of a refugee woman giving birth in a stable.” We, here in the world of plenty, find it hard to imagine birth in a stable. But in much of our world, birth is wherever, and in whatever simple and poor structure exists.

This song, Unto Us, invites us to let Christmas be born again in our hearts. “For Unto Us, on this holy Christmas night, God’s promise of endless light arrives”. On this most holy of holy days,
“Heaven bowed down”.

When we bring an angel gift to a child in need, we wrap it in hope….and heaven bows down again.

When our hearts truly understand the meaning of Christmas, God’s word is born within us and heaven bows down again.

When we kiss the faces of our children, our elders, our loved ones…we kiss the face of God and heaven bows down again.

AND….when we reach out into the shadows and serve the poor and vulnerable, we also kiss the face of God….
and heaven bows down again.

“Unto us, a child is born….the dawning of God’s love.” May we re­member this on Christmas, as well as the other 364 days of the year…and when we do, “HEAVEN WILL BOW DOWN AGAIN AND UNTO US, GOD’S PROMISE OF ENDLESS LIGHT WILL SHINE ON US ALL!”

My deepest and most sincere wishes for a Blessed and Merry Christmas, for holy and happy holidays and for a “dawning” on us all….for indeed, “Unto us, a child is born”!

Sister Debbie
Executive Director