An Advent Pastoral Letter
An Advent Pastoral Letter
Rev. Dr. Daniel Medina
Miami Lakes Congregational Church
Christmas is an ambiguous time. Perhaps it is questionable that an ordained minister should believe this. It is beautiful for some. It is painful for others. And for even others, it has lost the “magic” it once had. I believe if a poll were taken to estimate how many expectations for Christmas are entertained, I'd wager that the number surveyed would favor the disenchanted. Why is this so often the case with Christmas, though?
I am convinced that we expect people and occasions far beyond their ability to meet the hopes for the season. In turn, we neglect, if not altogether ignore, trusting in the only One who can faithfully meet said expectations far beyond the narrow limits of our imagination.
It is a paradox that so many celebrate Christmas but fail to invite the One whose birth is being celebrated into the center of their revelries. The Advent Season may pass uneventfully with high anticipation of what Christmas will “look” like this year. We may generate all sorts of high expectations for Christmas, others and ourselves, too. However, by the time Boxing Day rolls around, one may be utterly exhausted, disappointed, and even spend a day or so afterward in a state of disillusionment and frustration. In my case, many individuals usually do not look forward to Christmas in the fashion that I do. Although I feel blessed to experience the wonder, mystery, music and meaning of the season, I am pained by so many that miss the point year after year.
I also associate these feelings with the same ones related to our Christian faith and tradition. "If you could see what I see," I often say to myself as I am discussing the faith with someone. Knowing the "who," "when," "what," "why," and "how" of our faith is paramount to experiencing a deep and intentional relationship with God. It is the same with Christmas. Taking the time to dwell into the "who," "when," "what," "why," and "how" of our celebration of the Nativity of the Lord will, I believe, make all the difference in setting our minds and hearts on Christ’s birth, rather than on the frail, unfaithful and unreliable conditions of this temporal world’s illusory allure.
I have spent a substantial portion of this year inviting people to experience the supernatural and unbridled power of God's presence, promises and purposes. I have coupled this message with that of sacrifice. To lose ourselves in Christ, we first need to have our hearts inhabited by the Holy Spirit. That very same person of the Trinity that conceived our Savior within the womb of Mary is the very same person eager to make of our hearts, his abode from this moment and on to forever. Once he is wrapped in the swaddling clothes of our hearts, made tender through the irresistible power of his grace, we will be able to surrender ourselves and become God’s tabernacle, his dwelling place. No longer will there be any part of "us" left as all will be united with and in God.
It has been said that the first thing a soul must do to be free is to find its essence. When we embrace the Christ Consciousness within us - we acknowledge God’s non-judgmental, unconditional love and render ourselves captive to his purposes and will. Are we ready to experience genuine emancipation of spirit, mind, and body? May the liberation of your "Self" be the greatest memory you cherish about this Christmas in the years to come. May it be said that we kept Christmas well because we knew exactly who to give our greatest attention and expectations for this season.
It is in this blessed hope that my wife, Victoria, and your humble servant pray your Christmas to be filled with God's presence. May this be so during these blessed seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany – and throughout the New Year. May God’s purposes and person be revealed to you in a mighty, undeniable fashion and your hearts and minds be filled with God’s peace, wisdom, and strength.
A blessed Advent & Merry Christmas to all –