Thursday, January 26, 2017

Merry Christmas 2016

January 2017


It is not without cause that those closest to me accused me of “scroogishness” this Christmas.  Convention dictates that a Christmas Letter be joyful and hopeful and glad.  It is, I suspect, because of this encumbrance that I have found writing this letter to be onerous this year.  As I complete my annual retrospective, the moments that stand out are mostly sad.  Our community has buried more than our share of people in the last twelve months.  A dear friend of mine, only a year older than me, died suddenlyleaving her toddler daughter without a mother.  Another friend’s father and a respected teacher from my high school days also died unexpectedly.  Regular notices of people diagnosed with serious illness have punctuated our community’s grief.  Short days, unnecessarily cold weeks, and frustratingly frequent snows have left me feeling little Christmas cheer.  Indeed, it was only as Christmas drew to its conclusion and the season of Ordinary Time commenced that the ageless proclamation that God Is Made Man began to peel away the spiritual cataracts that had perpetuated my dimness of soul. 

We hear each year, “The people who dwell in darkness have seen a great light.”  That light, Jesus Christ, tiny and innocent, lived and died and lives again.  Because he lives, death has no power here.  Sickness has no power.  The light always defeats the darkness.  Thus, even as I sit writing and twilight lingers, I realize that darkness arrives a half hour later than it did just a few weeks ago.  The year was not so bad.  I caught some nice trout, and almost caught an extraordinary one (He would probably have been the biggest I have ever caught.  He broke my line just as I brought him to net).  I talked myself into buying a dog, and then promptly talked myself out of it.  I spent a weekend in Georgia.  I witnessed the weddings of beautiful, happy couples.  I blessed the farms and ranches of extraordinarily good and kind people.  Rain came regularly and the grass was green well into the summer.  It was nearly Thanksgiving before it finally snowed.  I am sponsor to not just one, but to two exceptional young men preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. I have not hit a deer yet.  My people are kind.  My parishes are solvent.  Things could be much worse.

God does not require that we pretend all is well if all is not well.  He does, however, call us to seek him where he may be found.  2016, in a number of obvious ways, was bleak and hard.  To see God sometimes required that we squint.  But there were plenty of moments of light.  Therefore, I resolve, in 2017, to try to dwell in the light.  One source of that light is God’s love as I experience it through you.  Thank you for all you do for me.  Thank you for your kind and thoughtful sentiments this season.  I am deeply grateful.  Know of my continued prayers that 2017 will be a year filled with light, and that you will receive all of God’s richest blessings.

In Christ,
 Fr. Tyler

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