I’ve never been much of a church person. 

My family has a long history in the Episcopal Church. My father and I traveled to Williamsburg once where we visited the grave of one of our relatives. He is buried in the oldest church in the US. Bishop Wilmer is one of the founders of the American Episcopal Church. 

When I was in fourth grade my mom converted to Catholicism. She would go to her church on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings and Dad and I would go to ours. 

They were divorced a couple of years later. 

My mom used to carry a beautiful picture of Jesus in her wallet. (The one you see attached here.) There it was…tucked in with all the posed school photos of me, her grandchildren and her beloved cats. She would flip through the photos, each within their own plastic photo-protector, “Now here’s my grandson Bo with his father Henry. Henry is my son. This is Molly when she did her first marathon. She is my brave and rebellious one. Oh…and this one is Jesus.” She would pause for a moment and then continue. “And this one is me and some friends hiking the Appalachian Trail.”

Her relationship with Jesus was intimate. It’s like they were best friends. 

I remember when she was newly sober, I used to go sit in her bedroom (my dad worked late most nights) and we would talk about God and Love and The Big Stuff of Life. 

I remember one time…I couldn’t have been older than ten…asking her, “How do you know there is a God? How do you know Jesus existed?”

She paused, looked up from her needlepoint (that was all the rage in 1970) and said, “I just do. I just know.”

I share this with you this morning because the deeper I get into this work…the work of love and understanding and being with all that is…I find myself seeing God and Love and the journey of Jesus all around me. 

His bravery to speak truth to power. 

His courage to risk all for Love. 

His tenderness with the poor, the outcast, the downtrodden and exiled. 

His willingness to forego all the riches of worldly things and trust that his needs would be met. 

Can you imagine? CAN YOU IMAGINE?  

To be and live and speak such an audacious, bold and honest Love, and then to continue to be and live and speak it when those around do not…when those around mean you harm?  

Seriously…take a minute and really think about that. The courage. The audacity. The willingness. 

Whatever name or word or story or truth attributed to it, Love is the most powerful force in the universe…I think sometimes it just takes being intentional about looking for it and as my mom said, “Just knowing” it is there always. 

So this morning as Christians everywhere celebrate the birth of Jesus, I offer up this little prayer. 

“Give me the breath, the courage and the strength to be, live and speak Love, even when I’m struggling.”

Merry Christmas to all.