A joint Christmas message from the Primate and National Bishop

December 20, 2021

When we remember 2021, we will remember the pandemic and its global effects as wave after wave of illness, lockdowns, missed events and lost opportunities washed over us. We will also remember that climate change hit parts of our country and world with devastating events like the heat and fires in B.C.; the flooding and landslides that followed; the tornadoes in the southern U.S.A.. We will remember feeling helpless in the face of forces beyond our control that could disrupt the globe so profoundly.

There have always been times when life has overwhelmed the human heart – these are the latest and maybe seem more intense because of the instantaneous capacity to hear the devastating news through all the media channels available around us.

Just when we want to be rescued – when we want a power greater than all the pain around us to swoop in and fix all that is wrong in our world – just when we cry out in mourning, frustration and pain for God to do something – we find ourselves preparing for Christmas – and we hear again God’s response.

God does not come in power or triumph but in the soft, wail of a baby. God comes – in this most vulnerable way – entrusted to two young adults far from home and caught up in the systems and powers of their own times – and it is enough to change the world. A bevy of angels – a few shepherds doing their work – two faithful elderly worshippers in the temple and some strangers from a foreign country recognize something wonderful and profound has happened – but the fulfilment of the promise will take another thirty years.

In the midst of all that seems to be too much for our hearts in this year – remember the promise begun that Christmas night – in all vulnerability, smallness and insignificance to the powers around. God is here and all shall be well in God’s time.

May the hope, joy, peace and love birthed in Bethlehem fill your hearts and homes this Christmas and always.

[signed] +Linda Nicholls
The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

[signed] +Susan C Johnson
The Rev. Susan Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”