“All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Look, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,’ which means, ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:22-23, NRSV)
Christmas, a season synonymous with generosity, often steers our focus towards material gifts in our consumer-driven society. However, there exists a more profound offering we can extend to one another—the gift of time. In our fast-paced world, where time is a precious commodity, dedicating it to our friends and family becomes a more meaningful and valuable gesture. Allocating time demonstrates a genuine commitment to nurturing relationships, showcasing our love, and emphasizing the importance we place on those we care about.
The essence of Christmas, as highlighted in Matthew 1:22-23, lies in the enduring gift of Emmanuel—God with us. As followers of Christ, we find hope in the presence of God, even amidst life's challenges. Similarly, we are called to impart this hope to others through our meaningful presence in their lives. Beyond merely embracing hope, we are entrusted with the calling of being beacons of hope in our world.
Recently, a group of Booth UC staff, faculty, and students volunteered their time at The Salvation Army’s Toy Mountain (held at the Weetamah Corps). While many wonderful people did the hard work of gathering, sorting, and staging toys, we got to swoop in and participate in the fun and rewarding task of walking parents through the warehouse and helping them pick out toys for their children. Through this time, we encountered remarkable individuals, heard fragments of their stories, and were deeply moved by both heart-wrenching and joyful narratives. These encounters served as poignant reminders of our shared humanity, the interconnectedness that binds us together, and our need for each other.
As we conclude this term and embark on the Christmas break, I want to encourage you to embody the spirit of Christ's hope this Christmas by actively engaging with others and being fully present in their lives. I also want to express my gratitude to each member of the Booth UC community. In my short time here, your presence has been a blessing in my life; it has given me hope for our collective future.
- Rob Fringer, President