As Advent arrives, with Christmas decorations going up all around, I find myself once again contemplating the birth of Jesus. A little baby, born in less than ideal circumstances, to a young mother and then shortly after his birth, being forced to flee the threat of violence by leaving his home country for another one. On some days, I only want to imagine a beautiful Mary, cradling her son in what can only be described as a Hallmark moment. I want to linger on his small cubby hands, the smell of the peach fuzz on top of his head and not think about the circumstances that he was born into, the violence that surrounds it.
Alongside those conflicted emotions, a family member shared this week that they were in a new relationship and the first thing that sprang to my mind, more like flashing lights in my brain, was the warning to be careful.
Be careful not because you might get your heart broken, but because they are in a same sex relationship and they need to be careful because of the growing backlash against the LGBTQ+ community. On the same day I learned of their new relationship, I also heard about a recent protest at a Catholic High School in Renfrew, one of the towns I live close to, that centered around the use of gender based washrooms by those that identity as trans. In addition, this past Tuesday on the noon hour call in show on CBC Radio called Ontario Today, it looked at the increasing influence that online social media platforms from the United States have on spreading hate, including the threating of people in the LGBTQ+ community with violence and death here in Canada. Into this mix are countless stories of killings in LGBTQ+ nightclubs and threats of violence at Pride Parades all over the world. Hate knows no borders.
As I sit with the image of the baby Jesus, of vulnerable trans youth being threatened and killed, I am reminded once again of the mystery and the Good News of the Christmas story: that God through Jesus was incarnate in our human flesh. That Jesus came to bring freedom to all people, and that through becoming human, Jesus took on all aspects of what it means to be human. Jesus is in all and for all. We are made in love and for love. Like Jesus each of us is cradled in the loving arms of our Heavenly Parent, who loves us into being so that one day we can stand strong and proud in our humanity.
And so, as we get caught up this Christmas season with loved ones, remember that while we may know some of what our relatives and friends are living through, chances are we don’t know all of it. Realize that what we say will determine if in the future, they will approach us to share something that they perhaps were wondering if we could hear or support them in.
This life is short and we need each other more than ever. We also need the transforming promise of Jesus in our lives to remind us that we are loved beyond all imagining and that we are called to love and serve one another.
My hope is that you too will feel loved this Advent and throughout the year. God is with you and we have each other.
Advent Worship Calendar
Advent 1: Hope
Sunday November 27 th at 10:00 AM
Advent 2: Peace
Sunday December 4 th Communion Sunday
Advent 3: Love
Sunday December 11 th at 10:00AM
Cantata “Sing with the Angels”
Join us for this music filled service.
Advent 4: Joy
Sunday December 18 th at 10:00AM
“Samuel’s Perfect Gift” Drama
All are invited to arrive early to participate in this live-action play written by Rev. Carla.
We will also official welcome our new Youth Ministry Leader, Stephon Farrow to Barrhaven United.
Christmas Eve Saturday December 24 th at 7:00PM
Come one come all for this Family Service with singing, candles and interactive re-telling of the Nativity story.
A pre-recorded service will also be available on our Youtube channel for viewing on the 24 th .
Christmas Day Sunday December 25 th at 10:00AM
-Join Rev. Carla and wear your “best” Christmas sweater and bring your favorite stuffy.
Question to ponder: What would your stuffy ask the baby Jesus?
December is Chaplaincy Month at BUC: On the first Sunday of Advent we will share news from Center 507 via a video, and we welcome The Rev. Deacon E. Steven Zytveld on December 4 th to share news about the Carlington Community Chaplaincy.
Then on December 11 th we are pleased have Neil Hunter, Treasurer of Ottawa West End Community Centre who will speak to us about OWECC.