The True Season of Renewal
The True Season of Renewal
Dear Cathedral Family,
Though I record this meditation on Christmas Eve, by the time it is received in your inbox we will be approaching New Year’s. We will be readying ourselves to make New Year’s resolutions, and if this coming year proves like all the ones before it, the majority of our resolutions will begin to feel stale and weary just a few weeks after we make them.
A German pastor and theologian pondered this very phenomenon over two hundred years ago. In 1806, Friedrich Schleiermacher penned a lovely dialogue that depicts a group of friends enjoying one another’s company in the parlor of a home on Christmas Eve. In their conversation, the friends look ahead to the New Year’s celebration that will occur in a week’s time, and they consider what makes New Year’s different from Christmas.
Admittedly, New Year’s is a celebration of renewal (think of the cartoons that show the ancient Old Year passing the garland to a cherubic Baby New Year), but Ernst (a character in the dialogue) observes, “New Year’s is devoted to the renewal of what is only transitory.” It quickly loses its luster — usually by mid-morning on New Year’s Day — because of the realization that the New Year’s resolutions we make are grounded only in our worldly enthusiasm. Such enthusiasm has no staying power, and we soon find it exhausted. The promise of New Year’s gives way to inertia, and our short-lived joy becomes depression.
Is there a solution? Ernst believes so. He says, “Some of us do not desire to have our life in what is only transitory. For us the birth of the Redeemer is the uniquely universal festival of joy, precisely because we believe there is no other principle of joy than redemption.”
In other words, New Year’s is not the festival in which we should place our hope for renewal, but rather Christmas. Another character seizes on Ernst’s idea. saying: “Thus it is that the Christmas festival breaks forth like a heavenly light out of darkness. Thus it is that a pulse of joy spreads out over the whole reborn world!”
And yet a third character adds, “[At Christmas] the long, deep, irrepressible pain in my life is soothed as never before. I feel at home, as if born anew into the better world.”
Lest we forget, Christmas is a festival lasting twelve days. On New Year’s Day, we still have four days of Christmas to go! Sip that cup of coffee, forget the Times Square crystal ball, and rejoice in the eternal renewal that comes from the birth of Christ into the world, healing our brokenness and reconciling us to God.
Grace and peace,
The Very Reverend Barkley Thompson
Every Member Canvass
As 2020 comes to an end, we thank everyone who pledged to the 2020 Every Member Canvass in support of the mission and ministry of Christ Church Cathedral. We are very grateful to everyone who has made payments already and we hope that those with an outstanding balance will be able to contribute the remainder of what they pledged.
For those needing to make a final contribution in 2020, know that there are several options available.
Go online to make an electronic payment via credit or debit card.
Donate using PayPal via the Cathedral’s website: christchurchcathedral.org/give/
Text the word “Give” to 888-998-1634
Send a check to the Cathedral address: 1117 Texas Street, Houston, TX, 77002.
Make a gift of stock or securities, using our stock donation instructions.
Questions? Call the finance office via 713-222-2593
Please remember that for your donation to be included in the 2020 tax year we must either receive it by December 31st or the letter must be postmarked by that date.
Due to the CARES Act, there are significant tax benefits for making charitable contributions in the 2020 calendar year.Cash gifts to charitable organizations of up to $300 are deductible, even for those who take a standard deduction. Read more here.
There is still time to make your pledge for 2021! The Every Member Canvass is our annual opportunity to pledge financial support to Christ Church Cathedral for the coming calendar year, a true investment in future mission and ministry. As we live in a time unlike any other, the need is great, and we hope that all will make their pledge through trust in God who casts out our fear, and out of the joy we know when we meet God in this place.
Ways to make your pledge:
Return the pledge card you received by mail to 1117 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002.
Make a pledge over the phone at 713-590-3338 or by email by contacting Karen Kraycirik, minister for stewardship.
Learn more about this year's EMC at: christchurchcathedral.org/emc