A Christmas message from Rev. Linda Jaramillo
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
Advent is a time of anticipation and hope at the coming of the Christ child. At that same time, we remember and reflect on the year that has passed. The events of this year remind us that our work for justice and our yearning for a better world a world that is fit for children – must not wane.
Racism flourishes in our nation through deeply embedded systems of injustice that affect children and young people. Our prayers are with the families of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and many others who died at the hands of those entrusted to protect them. We remember the thousands of children from nations to the South who risked death to flee violence in their own communities. Together we mourn that as we observed the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, we received the devastating news of a massacre in Peshawar, Pakistan that killed scores of children and their teachers.
Our children are creative, they are truthful, they are joyful, they are hopeful, and they are resilient. But we cannot allow them to endure such injustices. We must demand a change in the systemic conditions that harm their lives and their spirits.
We observe this holy time by lighting candles of hope, love, joy, and peace as we remember that we are human beings in need of renewal. As we anticipate the coming year, I leave you with these prophetic words by the Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman. May they remind us that our courageous witness is needed to help bring light to the world.
Candles for Christmas
I will light Candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.
Blessings to you and yours this Christmas. May this holiday be a time if healing. I look forward to partnering with you in the year to come, remembering always that with God nothing is impossible.
Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo
Executive Minister, Justice & Witness Ministries
United Church of Christ