December message from Mother Debra as published in A Word with the Saviour

Dec 08, 2016

“Christmastime is here….”

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Church of Our Saviour:

During a recent radio broadcast, the DJs were sharing what ushers in the Christmas season for them. One of the DJs shared that for him the season does not officially begin with the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City but until the annual showing of the animated Christmas specials Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas. At a time when the day set aside for the celebration of the birth of Christ is more and more being coopted by the commercialism of said holiday, and when our sensitivities to the human condition have been overwhelmed by disdain, disunity, and hatred for difference, these two iconic specials provide us a social commentary for our present day and a sobering image of – the now famous words spoken by Charlie Brown – “what Christmas is all about.”

The iconic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, first aired in 1964 and is the longest running Christmas special, with a broad sweep presents a microcosm of life lived through a lens born out of a fear of that which is different – Rudolph is ostracized by none other than his dad and Santa and teased by his friends. Santa even shames Rudolph’s father for a difference in appearance that will later be seen as a great gift. Hermie the Elf yearns not to be a toy maker but to be a dentist – his true passion. Then there is Charlie in the Box and his fellow misfit toys outcasts on the island of the same name. This animated story based on the song, provides a reminder for us of what we can devolve into as a society when the fear of difference is given reign among us. It provides a striking indictment to those who would advocate for exclusion rather than embrace of the other. However, the creator of this epic story had the foresight to provide an opportunity for reconciliation and embrace. In the end, the “misfits” (even the abominable snowman, who has been redeemed) are embraced by those who rejected them and are brought back into community. The Christ child was born to a poor, unwed homeless couple on the outskirts of town away from community. And yet Christ brought a message of peace and a love broad enough to include all of humanity.

Like Rudolph, Charles Shultz provides for us in A Charlie Brown Christmas a poignant image of Christmas over and against that which society presents. Lucy lets us into the big secret that Christmas is “run by a big eastern syndicate” but we journey with Linus to Jerusalem to the shepherds, angels, Mary and Joseph and the manger for the “true” secret of Christmas. While Linus the ever sensible one of the group takes us back to the manger, it is Charlie Brown’s embrace of the scrawniest tree that strikes at our hearts and at the heart of the matter. Charlie Brown the one who is teased often, who has no reason to be hopeful but does hope, is the one who sees through the eyes of love as he looks beyond all the fancy trees and spies the one most needy, the one most in need of embrace, the one that needs him. Charlie Brown’s sadness at the thought he had inadvertently harmed the tree by its drooping after placing one ornament on the spindly branch stirred the hearts of his community of friends. The tree is brought to its true beauty when Linus wraps it in a blanket of security and love while the others adorn it with Christmas lights and ornaments. Again, as in Rudolph, Mr. Shultz provided an avenue for reconciliation and a restoration of community.

In both of these seemingly “Children’s” stories, we hear the voice of the prophet Isaiah saying, “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light ….” We hear the faint sounds of Mary’s Magnificat, as she extols the awesomeness of God and God’s preferential option for poor and the outcast, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior… his mercy is on those who fear him from one generation to another…he has scattered the proud in their conceit and has exalted the humble and meek…he has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent empty away….”

Programs such as this help us to avoid getting sucked into the Christmas Shopping and holiday activity frenzy vortex that spits us out exhausted and anticipating the end of the secular season of Christmas on December 25th versus anticipating the coming of Christ and remembering the birth of the Christ child, which begins the season of Christmas on December 25th.

This year more than ever it is important as a community of faith we embrace and manifest the all-encompassing love of God through Christ that is intended for all whether they have a red nose, pointy elf ears, a choo-choo with square wheels, considered a block head, speak with an accent, wear two-strand twists, face Mecca when they pray, have a spouse or partner of the same gender, walk with a limp or … just fill in the blank. In God’s economy, the list is endless and should be for us as well.

Christmas time is here…Oh that we could always see such spirit through the year.

As you continue on the road to meet the babe in the manger and to prepare for the coming again of the Christ, may be surrounded by the true joy and secret of what Christmas is all about. Following this message are the lyrics for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Christmas Time is Here may they serve as a source of reflection and a channel for prayer for the human condition during the remaining weeks of Advent.

Christmas time is here … wishing you the wonder and joy of community the spirit ushers in and the love of Christ that kisses our lives and renews us.

Yours in the Peace & Love of Our Savior

Mo. Deb

Christmas time is here[1]
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside

And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here
Families growing near
Oh that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere

Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here
Families growing near
Oh that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

[1] Songwriters: LEE MAURICE MENDELSON, VINCE GUARALDI
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group


Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer[2]

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,
you know Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen,
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games

Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight

Then how all the reindeer loved him,
As they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nose Reindeer
You'll go down in history

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it,
You would even say it glows,
And all of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names,
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games,

Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight

Then how all the reindeer loved him,
As they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
You'll go down in history

2Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is a song written by Johnny Marks based on the 1939 story Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer published by the Montgomery Ward.



 

 

 

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