I have been blessed with an incredible sense of belonging to my family: an incredible spouse, great sons, supportive and enjoyable siblings, in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.

I have been blessed with multiple circles of friends: from childhood, from the camp and youth world, from long-time affinity groups and neighbors.

I have been blessed to belong to the Church: with those both young and old, from coast to coast and around the world, both progressive and conservative – the full array of humanity.

Most of all, I have been blessed to belong to God: to be a beloved child, uniquely created in the image of God, gifted by the Holy Spirit, and called to follow in the Way of Jesus.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1: 1-5.

During this Advent season, I have focused and reflected on the words wonder, presence and gratitude, as a way to live in a space of waiting and preparing for the coming of the Lord. At the heart of Christmas, of the Incarnation, is the awareness and acknowledgement that we belong to God. “All things came to be” we hear from our sacred story, making an indisputable claim on who we are and whose we are.

The gift we can give to ourselves, the gift we are called to share with the world, is the gift of embracing that we ALL belong to God. Imagine what the world would be like if all of us fully embraced our belonging. No more outcast, no more other, no more us and them – all of us are God’s beloved – God’s Beloved Community!

Merry Christmas, friends – I am blessed to belong to God with you.

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