Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | December 29, 2023

Congregation Update: Swelling Crowds and Bright Longings

Blog|The Rev. Canon Mary Carter Greene

Dear Grace Cathedral Family,

Merry Christmas!

Did you feel the exuberance and joy among the thousands who streamed through our doors and online at our Christmas services?

Our jubilation began with the Bishop’s Christmas Pageant of shepherds, angels, and magi accompanied by a donkey, sheep, and goat on the Holy Family’s journey to Bethlehem. The infant Jesus, was played by a most accommodating and angelic, cooing baby. In the afternoon, a packed house sang out at Lessons and Carols, followed by gorgeous nighttime, choral and orchestral Eucharists. 

With seats, aisleways, and hearts brimming through the services, the swelling crowds felt a lot like pre-pandemic times. But there was something else with us, too. At the Christmas Day service, I looked out from the presider’s chair at another full house. There were new and known faces, all exuding something in common. What is it that you are saying? I remember wondering to myself as the choir sang out the most beautiful Kyrie.

In the bright eyes and exuberant voices, I sensed a joyful longing of some kind. Was it the same desire I always feel at Christmastime for the effervescence to last forever?

Children, as the poet Kahlil Gibran wrote, are the sons and daughters of Life’s Longing for itself. In this season celebrating the birth of Jesus, the image of a swaddled baby evokes a sense of purity in our arms as the answer to our longings. The Christmas season brings into focus the hope of new life that we engage together as a community each week in worship, programming, and the arts at Grace Cathedral.

What is it that you are seeking? In this shimmery Christmastide, I hope you can find ways to witness the joy of the season as well as the desire it draws from you. As we turn to the new year, consider how God’s presence and Grace Cathedral can be a part of that search.

We have so much ahead that calls us together, and your presence will add to our community’s faithful enquiry into the deepest desires of our hearts as we engage the brightest hope in this season of light.

With great gratitude and joy,

Mary Carter
The Rev. Canon Mary Carter Greene
Canon Pastor

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