“For the grace of God has appeared.” Titus 2:11
Dear Family at the First Congregational Church of Burlington,
Incarnation. That’s my favorite word during Christmastide. The whole idea that God comes to earth to live with us, to live in us, is what we so often lose in the commercial hustle and bustle of the Happy Holidays. There is a truly fine mystery at the heart of this Holy Day: that the Being of divinity can be held within the confines of a very human, very vulnerable infant and so also can come to us, be born in us.
“He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity.” Titus 2:14
You may hear these words from Titus during Lessons and Carols on a Christmas Eve, but the wonder and majesty of that Gift which prompts all other gifts is often lost on us. The greatest largesse our world has ever known is God’s giving of his child, of his own self, to humankind. No other thing – not even the rich treasure of the magi – can rival that generosity.
In the midst of this uncertain world, of so much change and anxiety, of so much hate and violence, we have been given – forever – this incredible gift. How blessed are we, and how indebted! We can only offer our own lived contribution to the vision of Peace on Earth. Let us begin with our own selves and families and church family in co-creating that Peace in the world around us.
Won’t you be generous with your Gift this year? I’m not talking about the special shopping you have done for the special people on your list. I am talking about what you can and will offer back to the One whose grace has appeared in your own life and whose mysterious love sustains you. Please join in contributing to this, our faith community, this place where you hear God’s word broken open and you see God’s hands reaching out in love every week.
One of God’s gifts to me this year has been the opportunity to serve among you, to help you remember the presence of God’s grace, to inspire your dreams of community and peace, to guide you along the path in Christ’s footsteps. I am deeply grateful.
May the outpouring of our gifts reflect in some small way the outpouring of God’s incarnate love.
Rev. Carrie Bail
“End of the Year Gifts” are welcome and needed.
Please give a gift:
• By check, made payable to First Congregational Church, MEMO: End of Year Gift
• By cash, using a Christmas envelope available in the Church Office, on the main bulletin board and in any “Order of Worship”; Or
• Online by using the church website’s online giving option. Follow Online/E-Giving: and then use the “End of Year Gift” option.