The Dean's 2021 Christmas Letter
December 17, 2021
“When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy!” exclaims Psalm 126:1. And Saint Paul says, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3).
I say the same things to each parishioner and friend of the Cathedral of St. Philip. This Christmas is a joyful time for me, and this Christmas is a season of thanks for me. I thank God for each of you!
Every Christmas—pandemic or no pandemic—I also write a special letter, a letter of appeal, to the great Cathedral community. This is that letter, asking you, please, to make a generous financial gift to the Cathedral of St. Philip. For some of you, that means fulfilling a previous pledge; for others of you, that means simply making a special Christmas offering. Give thanks by giving a gift.
Thanksgiving—giving thanks—really does release us. It frees us. And giving money is a blessed way to give thanks, no matter how small or large the gift. Further, of course, the Cathedral needs your thanks and your gifts. Every year—pandemic or no pandemic—we receive almost a quarter of our year’s financial gifts in the last month of the year. Wow.
Yes, giving thanks is a blessed richness itself. Several weeks ago, I noted that “Gratitude is wealth; complaint is poverty.” We have had plenty of complaint this past year, and legitimate reasons to complain! But the time has come for gratitude, for giving thanks. The time has come for the wealth of gratitude. The Lord is restoring the fortunes of Zion! Those fortunes are thanksgivings!
Giving thanks is like planting seeds. Giving thanks can be the beginning of things. The seeds of gratitude can be the beginning of new birth! The gratitude of Advent can grow into the holy new life of Christmas!
So, in prayer and in joy, I remember each of you who has been committed this past year, committed and faithful to this complex Cathedral community, in all our diversity and hopes and laments. You have stayed with each other, loving and caring for each other as you were able. Thank you! I give thanks for you, and we are growing in to new life together.
Please join me in giving thanks! Please join me in growth. We need you!
The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler
Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip