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A Christmas message from Bishop Aebischer

Romans 8:22-26

“we know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains…In hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?… the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

This season of life, in year two of a pandemic, has brought with it considerable groaning, and the labor pains continue. We are all learning how to live life in new ways, and our own creativity and innovation is being stretched even more than we could have ever imagined. It is amazing and wondrous what we have been able to learn and do in new ways, and it seems that there is yet, more to come that will continue to shape us into God’s new creation.

This Holy season of Advent and Christmas gives me pause and makes me wonder:  where do we find the signs of hope, and how have those signs been shaping our lives anew?

This is a season when we seem to be more alert to the signs of hope and we often see things in new ways. Our expectations soar at this time of year. If we follow the wisdom of the Scriptures and the liturgy, we will also take the time to breathe and ponder along with Mary, and to wonder on the signs around us.

This Christmas our family has the joy of welcoming our first grandchild into the family holiday traditions AND to learn from Rosie what I am sure will be new traditions as well.

Whenever a child is born, there is wonder and expectation and hope! And, as you know, fatigue and messes; chaos and new life! Everything changes when a child is born.

As we waited for Rosie’s arrival we spent lots of time praying all would be well with the delivery, and as you might imagine, excitedly awaiting any text or phone call or word we could get that both mama and baby were safely through the labor pains. Now we spend time wondering over every little feature and we try to imagine where this life’s journey will take her. We pray and hope for the very best.

The good news for those of us who celebrate the birth of Jesus is that we know the end of the story. The sign of our Hope rests in a manger. We wait and wonder and our expectations soar because we know that in Christ, God is with us. God comes to us in our chaotic and messy world to bring new life; to show us a new way forward. We know that the birth, the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus has changed the whole world! In Christ is our hope and we hold on tightly to that faith.

May your heart be filled with the love of God; your mind be blessed with the joy of Jesus and your breath be synced with the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas from all of us on the South Carolina Synod Staff.

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