Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.—Isaiah 60. 1
Last night was Twelfth Night, the last evening of the Feast of Christmas. Remember Christmas Eve? The miracle of God’s incarnation in the form of a vulnerable child, the angel choirs appearing to humble shepherds. And yes, the feasting with family and friends, the giving and receiving of gifts, the holiday break from routine….
Well, the Twelve Days of Christmas may be over for another year, but the time of miracles continues. Today we remember that wise men from the East came seeking the newborn King of the Jews. Wise men of completely different cultures and religions from Jesus’ parents’ own comfortable Judaism.
Tomorrow we will gather by the Jordan River with John the Baptist and we will witness God’s Spirit descending upon Jesus and a voice declaring him—and us—beloved of God.
Over the coming weeks, we will see water turned to wine at a wedding feast, and many other signs of God’s glory appearing before our very eyes.
So, no—the time of miracles is not finished yet.
Looking back over 2017, I think we have all seen some very potent signs of God’s glorious Presence among us humble shepherds and innkeepers at St Mary’s:
- Our Churchmouse Bookshop growing from strength to strength, thanks to the hard work and welcoming spirit of all of you volunteers
- The After Hours Coffeehouse bringing the wider community together in new ways
- The love and kindness and interest you have all shown to the students of the Canadian College of Performing Arts bearing fruit, making space for a renewed and excitingly hopeful relationship for the long term
- Many new faces among us, sharing our hope for renewed community, looking for God’s Presence
- and I really could go on and on….
Oh, okay, I can’t help myself. Here’s another miracle:
- Today I received the year-end financial report from our treasurer, and we not only met our goal of a balanced budget for 2017—we ended the year with a $4,500 surplus!
It’s okay to go back and re-read that sentence a few times. I sure had to.
Thank-you, all of you, for the vital role you have each played in our journey over this past year. Like the shepherds and the wise men, you have come to see what God looks like when God bursts onto the scene, and you have come with your time and your talents and your treasures, to worship Jesus, God-With-Us. Thank-you.
From where I stand, 2018 looks even more exciting and hopeful. We will gather for our Annual Vestry Meeting (our A.G.M.) on Sunday, February 11, after the 10:00 am Eucharist, and we will vote on another projected balanced budget. That budget will include an ambitious and exciting outreach project, fully supported by our Parish Council and funded by our Churchmouse Bookshop and a $10,000 Diocesan Vision Fund Grant. For now, we are calling it ‘The St Mary’s Centre for Community’, and it mobilises talents both within the widening St Mary’s community and our neighbourhood. Look to your Annual Report for full details.
Finally, Jackie and I were pleased that so many of you came out to our annual Open House in the West End of the church. It was a delight to see and chat with you all. Thank-you for welcoming us, and for working with us in these exciting times!
May God richly bless you, and us all, in this New Year.
The Rev’d Craig Hiebert
The Epiphany of the Lord
Saturday, January 6, 2018