Our Christmas Work


By Barry Parker, Rector

Posted on December 23, 2015

In this Christmas season, Canadians are gearing up to welcome the first wave of refugees from the war-torn lands of the Middle East. Migrant families with uncertain futures are once again on the move. This time they travel to a land they hope offers safety and a peace-filled life, particularly for their children. For both those fleeing and those receiving there is apprehension, uncertainty and the unknown.

Two thousand years ago, also in the Middle East, there was another refugee family. A young couple waiting for their first child was forced on the move to appease the powers of the day. For the birth, they settled down in the lowliest of surroundings. And when the baby Jesus was born, he slept in a feed trough surrounded by an odd assortment of companions – from donkeys to shepherds. This little family would soon be on the move again, refugees fleeing a murderous despotic ruler.

Join us this Christmas to celebrate the birth of this refugee child, an infant named Jesus. He too was born into a world of apprehension, uncertainty and the unknown. People today, refugee or not, are looking to find the antidote of hope, to find a life that is peace-filled. Yet a foundational issue is still a life that is often filled with apprehension, uncertainty and the unknown.

The birth of Jesus long ago, into a refugee family, changed human history. The infant himself was the hope. Jesus embodied the peace-filled life – a hope-filled future, a secure present and the opportunity for a redeemed past.

Isn’t that what we, what humanity longs for? To experience hope? Instead of looking for hope in all the wrong places, look to see the infant Jesus, this refugee baby.

Howard Thurman, an influential author, theologian and civil rights leader, challenged anyone who encounters this infant Jesus to act on God’s gift of hope – Jesus.

Work of Christmas Begins
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal those broken in spirit,
to feed the hungry,
to release the oppressed,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to make a little music with the heart…
And to radiate the Light of Christ,
every day, in every way, in all that we do and in all that we say.
Then the work of Christmas begins.

You are welcome at St. Paul’s Bloor Street as we begin our Christmas work.