Bishop Scanlan’s 2022 Christmas Message

Christmas 2022

Dear Members of the Episcopal Church in Central Pennsylvania,

Grace and Peace in the name of Jesus!

On Sundays as we pray the Great Thanksgiving and celebrate Holy Eucharist, there is a phrase (Prayer B, pg. 369 BCP) that always catches me: “…in the fullness of time.” The celebrant bids the Holy Spirit to come and sanctify the communion elements- and us- and then prays that “in the fullness of time” we will be made one with all of God’s creation for eternity in the consummation of God’s dream.

This Advent we have been preparing for the coming of Christ. In my Friday video messages we’ve explored the different ways that we get ready for the festival celebration: by imagining a vision of a deep and loving relationship with Jesus, issuing an invitation for Christ to enter our hearts, participating in acts of confession and reconciliation, and, finally, by finding the balance between action and contemplation as the excitement of the season takes hold.

Now, we are ready. Scripture is not a literary form that is completely linear. The ideas of salvation, redemption, reconciliation and “the fullness of time” fold in on each other and God’s time of restoration is both already and not yet. Advent looks to both the coming of Christ in the manger and to the end of all time in glory. St. Paul writes in Galatians: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.” (Galatians 4: 4-5)

My prayer, this Christmas, is that in the fullness of this time, you will receive the gift that God wants to give you, in Jesus. This gift will strengthen you, teach you compassion, grant you the grace to be an agent of God’s healing love, and bring you peace. It is a gift that is meant to be shared as it extends from God’s heart to our heart, and for the blessing of the nations.

Merry Christmas to all of you. Share the gift of love that is ours, now, in this fullness of time.
The Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan
XI Bishop

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