Christmas Greeting from the Brothers of the Genesee Abbey
We are drawing close to Christmas and have yet to exit the world of the pandemic. ‘Travel plans disrupted by new variant’, ‘schools closing down’, ‘borders closing down’ – the same old weary and wearying headlines follow us around everywhere. There is no respite. My mind recalls the cry of the great Isaiah ‘Watchman, how far gone is the night?’ Perhaps, in some shape or form, it has become the great question of the world we live in.
At Christmas time, I am always stirred by these words taken from the Book of Wisdom. Its context is the deliverance of Israel from Egypt – For when peaceful stillness encompassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your All-Powerful Word from heaven’s royal throne leaped into the doomed land, a fierce warrior bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree. And alighted and filled every place with death, and touched heaven, while standing upon the earth.’ Isaiah promises us that ‘the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom, a light has shone.’ The same All-Powerful Word, like a mighty warrior, leaps once again from heaven’s royal throne into a doomed land of darkness and hopelessness. His sharp sword is no longer an instrument of death but of Life, His very own Life. He puts to flight the stygian darkness of despair by His Presence. The darkness cannot win even while it encompasses us on every side. The grand Prologue of St John tells us, ‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot lay hold of it.’
This is why, deep down, we can continue to rejoice always because the Light is with us and the darkness can continue to press in on us but it cannot lay hold of us. It does not have the last word. Christ has that securely in Himself and He is Emmanuel, God with us.
Bearing this great hope within us, we, the brothers of Genesee, wish you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. By God’s grace, we have been protected and have been safe and healthy during this time of the pandemic. We continue to pray for you and for our world and ask that you pray for us.