José y Maria

Kindred in Christ,

I look forward to gathering with you during our upcoming Christmas Eve candlelight service and our Christmas morning celebration! After two years of not being able to gather in-person for worship during the holidays, it will be a gift to light candles next to one another and welcome the coming light of the Christ Child among us. Yet during this season, I am also reminded of how easily it is to miss God’s emerging light. In fact, I find that the four weeks of Advent and our Christmas celebrations only begin to prepare our hearts and minds for what the manger means in our world today.

One of the things that I love about the depiction above, by Everett Patterson, titled José y Maria, is that the more time you spend looking at it, the more you’ll notice. Drawn in literary comic-book style, in shades of purple, lavender and gray, it depicts a gritty street scene with a poor young Latine couple standing on a sidewalk in front of a convenience store at night. The man has a public telephone wedged between his shoulder and ear. He looks worried. His wife rests at his side, resting by sitting sideways on a child’s mechanical pony ride. She holds a hand over her very pregnant abdomen. She looks worried too, and tired.

Are you starting to see the picture? The artist loads it with evocative hints: The woman’s hoodie reads “Nazareth High School.” A sign in the store window, advertising Starr Beer, bears a blue neon star. A poster calls out “Good News.” Around the corner, a lighted sign for Dave’s City Motel reads “NO VACANCY.” And my favorite, in a crack in the sidewalk a hopeful green shoot has sprouted between the man and woman. What other hints do you see?

Join us this Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, in-person and online, as we explore further what it means to witness and welcome the coming of Christ in our world.

Rev. Paul Ortiz