When I was a child, the season before Christmas was spent mostly with a Sears Wishbook. I remember spending hours combing through the pages dreaming about what Santa and his elves might bring in the sleigh. It was a magical time filled with hopes of toys, chocolate covered peanuts, and fresh oranges (remember when we only had citrus during this season!).
But as I aged, something shifted. I began to see Christmas as love. Sure the presents and the food were amazing; we all love those traditions. But as the years passed, I found myself drawn more and more to the deep love that came in the manger. Our God was not some distant, disinterested old man up in heaven but a God that loved us enough to be one of us. To be fully human. To know pain and loss co-mingled with joy and love.
Now that I live and breathe at Kanuga, I must say that this shift continues in me. I experience love here in ways I do not in other places. We celebrate the fullness of our humanity on this land where difference is celebrated. We are diverse. We are different. We value divergent points of view and ways of seeing the world. But in the end, we love. Period. In this special place, it is as if the incarnation is somehow more fully present in the lives that walk this sacred land. It is as if Emmanuel, God with us, is omni-present in the lives that intersect in this place we call home.
Whoever you are and wherever you find yourself this Christmas, Kanuga stands here for you. A place of radical welcome. A place to be your fully, created, incarnate self. A place to be loved.
Come see us soon. Kanuga truly is a wish come true.
The Rev. Michael R. Sullivan