Dear Friends In Christ,

God’s gift of his Son has brought about an annual celebration that is truly magical – Christmas.  It is a time of year that speaks for itself – a time when all are called to be merry, generous, and truly exhibit what the angels proclaimed on the eve of that birth – peace on earth and goodwill toward all, due to the tidings of great joy for all people.  At this time even Scrooges are motivated to review the life they have led, opening their eyes to the need that surrounds them and discovering the tremendous joy of giving.

Christians and Lutherans in particular know that the liberating gift of Grace is freely given to all and through Martin Luther we realize “we all are beggars” – that is to say there is nothing that we ourselves can do to earn our way into Heaven.  The only way is through God's gift of faith in the Christ child.  Out of deep thanksgiving for God's gift of salvation, we become transformed to be his disciples.

As we ponder the way God’s love has transformed our lives and the world, particularly at Christmastime, I am prompted to recall the question asked in a favourite Christmas eve anthem “In the Bleak Midwinter” whose lyrics were penned by Christina Rosetti in 1892 and so beautifully set to music by Gustav Holst 34 years later:
          “What can I give Him, poor as I am?
           If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
           If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
           Yet what can I give Him: give my heart.”

As we celebrate God’s love for the world and His redeeming Grace, on behalf of St. Paul’s Church Council we wish that all may experience the fullness of joy this Christmas, with hearts opened to the gift of the Holy Spirit and thereby spread His Love throughout the world.

May God bless one and all – Merry Christmas!

In His Service,

Keith B. Rivers,
Church Council Chair