I am still enough of a kid at heart that the first real snow of the season always fills me with joy. The steady flakes and the white blanket covering the lawn and trees look magical. The muffled quiet of a steady snow makes me think of Silent Night. Of course none of us knows the actual time of year of Jesus’s birth. Growing up I remember some scholars said it actually took place in August, but Christmas in my imagination has always been short days, cold nights, snowy fields. The type of climate where one would hope for shelter and accept even a stable as a preferable spot to an open field. The young homeless couple with the very expectant Mary and the responsible and caring Joseph by her side. Then the water breaks, the child is born, and the world changes.
In this holiday season with rumors of wars, and record numbers of folks calling on area food banks, and record numbers of homeless filling our cities, it is sometimes hard to keep that childlike wonder and to have hope. But, despite the headlines and the obvious troubles, the world isn’t getting worse and worse. Yes, we have challenges and our society and our church are not perfect institutions full of perfect people. Yes, the future will be different from the past – worse in some ways, better in others. Our hope is not in the works of people or the prescriptions of politicians, but our hope burns in the promise of that child born so long ago.
When Jesus was born, the world changed. The baptism, the ministry, the betrayal, the crucifixion, the resurrection – it all started with a humble birth in a stable in a small town in the middle of nowhere. We live in the time of Christ. He is here with us in Albany Presbytery. He is with your church. He lives and so we live. Sometime this season, step outside in the snow and listen to the stillness. Listen and hear the still small voice of God — calling us to be hopeful and faithful. May the blessing of the One God, the God of Peace, the God of Mystery, the God of Silence, be with you all.
Grace and Peace,
Moderator of Presbytery
Vice Moderator of Presbytery
Arthur Fullerton is a Ruling Elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany, NY, past chair of Board of Trustees, current chair of the Budget Committee, and Moderator of Albany Presbytery. He consults with nonprofits about fundraising and organizational leadership.