Thank you for your gifts and words of
appreciation last Sabbath.

After communion last Sabbath, I spent
Christmas Eve packing and cleaning. And
Christmas Day from bright and early till
late at night, I traveled across the country.
(Little did I know when boarding at
Lubbock airport that instead of arriving in Sacramento
around noon as scheduled, I would spend most of the day
waiting for delayed planes in various airport lounges. Two
delicious apples given to me two months before were my
Christmas dinner.)

But beautiful and rich human learning experiences
throughout the journey, and at the end,
the reward of seeing my Baby Rebecca.

I am not the only one who traveled at Christmas.
The Christmas story is filled with journeys.
The longest of all earthly Christmas journeys was not the
walk to Bethlehem (as long and uncomfortable as it was). It
was the journey undertaken by the Magois (the Greek word
from which we get the English word “magician.”) These
“wise men from the East” probably were “pagan”
Zoroastrians from Persia. They were students of the stars,
what we today would call “astrologers.” They long prepared
for the trip: years of learning, watching the stars, studying
what they had to study, and preparing their heart. And then,
preparing riding animals, money, food, clothes for heat and
storms, and their gifts. Then they took the long 2,000 miles
to walk up the Tigris and the Euphrates River Valley, across
the Syrian Desert, down the Mediterranean coast, and up to
Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

But at the end, it says that “they greatly rejoiced”
because they saw and worshipped the
Babe in the Manger.

Life is like a journey: full of unknowns.
We all travel along its path of time.
Today is the last day of another year—for me and all of us a
year filled with unexpected changes, losses, challenges,
work, achievements, and great blessings: a journey. The
New Year which starts tomorrow is also a journey. I’m
looking forward to it. And what will the future bring?
Probably some challenges, some plain and dull moments,
and also some enjoyable or exhilarating moments.
But through it all, may the daily moment-by-moment
blessing be to see shining through the face of
the Incarnated Baby the Light of God’s eternal,
constant and perfect Love.

May God bless you, your loved ones, your associates, our
church family, and through us our church community. God
has given and only promised us the best gifts.

With love,
Pastor Sam