From the Interim Rector - December 17
More than once over the months since Covid-19 invaded our lives and literally turned the entire world on end, I have thought of Habakkuk. Habakkuk is one of those easily missed Books of the Bible near the end of the Old Testament, or more accurately, the Tanakh, the Hebrew Scriptures. His book only runs three pages long and his words are filled with sorrow and lament. Habakkuk was living in a time of national and international conflict. His world had been turned on end and he was seeking answers. Answers from God whom he fears no longer hears his cries. And yet, he ends his questioning lament with these words, words that I first learned as an 18 year old in Bible College. They have never left me. They have never failed to sustain me, most especially this year.
“Though the fig tree does not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like hind’s feet,
He makes me tread upon the high places.
As we come to the cusp of the Nativity of our Lord and all the Christmas traditions we know as a parish family and in our own families, there is much we are having to say goodbye to. At least for this year. By God’s grace, only for this year.
For some the absence of those familiar and beloved traditions may make it seem as if the easiest way to get through the disappointment, perhaps even the grief this year has brought, is to skip Christmas altogether. Yet the words of Habakkuk echo down to us.Though much has been taken from us and more may well be required of us in the weeks and months ahead, we, like Habakkuk, can rejoice. For in our rejoicing we lay claim to the victory that an infant child brought into the world on a night like any other—on a night unlike any other.
My Christmas prayer is that each of us will discover what Habakkuk discovered in the midst of his lament and sorrow; that God, the Lord, is indeed our only strength and our salvation. Revealed through the most vulnerable of creatures, a new born babe. A babe yearning to be born once more in each our hearts. Emmanuel. God with us.