When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime, and in the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back. Most humbling of all is to comprehend the lifesaving gift that your pit crew of people have been for you, and all the experiences you have shared, the journeys together, the collaborations.....Every so often you realize that without all of them, your life would be barren...... Anne Lamott (Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers)
This will be my third Christmas in Washington, DC. As we approach the Feast of the Incarnation, my mind can't help going back to that week before Christmas in 2011 when I walked into what I thought would be an empty rectory and was greeted by a mantle decked out in Christmas splendor and a basket full of gifts of welcome.
Ted Mann had gotten the children's bedrooms ready by painting them in their favorite colors. Gabrielle Czaja showed up to helped stock the refrigerator with groceries for when the kids arrived.
John McCall arrived on Christmas Eve to help manage movers and ended up ferrying me to every Christmas tree lot in a 3 mile radius until we'd found a suitable tree. He endured my children's "help" in getting the tree up, even bravely taking the twins on a walk when the meltdowns began.
The people of this church made a time of incredible transition easier by virtue of their bigheartedness. It was such a gift.
The Advent/Christmas season is a time that invites us to a new awareness "of all that has been given to (us)." And when I look back over these last two years, I am clear that I have been abundantly blessed. Much of that blessing has come in the form of St. Margaret's church. You are the "pit crew" that shares the joys and challenges of ministry with me. The people of this community have been so generous towards my family and me: from the Vestry, to the Volunteers, to the children who greet me with hugs when they see me on Connecticut Avenue.
I look forward to worshiping with you, learning from you, and growing with you. You challenge me; you inspire me; you make me a better priest day by day. I thank God for each of you. I am not always good at expressing my appreciation. I'm not prone to gushing and most of the time "thank you" is the best I can manage. So, thank you. For all that you've given, for all that you've done. I am humbled by the Christ I meet in you.