Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS DAY, 1935.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." So Saint John begins his Gospel.
"I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made: Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all thing§ were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And boas incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man." So do we proclaim our belief.
The Bible confirms what the Church teaches, and we are witnesses of these things. Our witness is very much needed in the world this Christmas. Perhaps more than we realize. This Christmas of 1935 must be a Christmas of witness to the things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses. Each one of us has a direct, personal and inescapable responsibility to witness, before the world, that God so loved the world that He gave His Only-Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be born as at this time for us; who by the operation of the Holy Ghost, was made very man, of the substance of the Virgin Mary his Mother.
The greatest service that we can render to the world, and the service which is nearest to the Divine Will, is to give our part in the sending out of a universal "I believe" which shall ring throughout the world, as did the Angels' Gloria on the night of the Holy Nativity.
The world is sick unto death. There is distress of nations, with perplexity; men's hearts are failing them for fear. So great is the darkness that men do not know where to look after those things which are coming on the earth. To whom can the world look but to Christians, who in the light and peace of the Church, hear, as they kneel before their Altars, the triumphant song of the Angels, "Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good-will toward men." Peace to men of good-will. Peace from men of good-will to a world that gasps for peace. The peace of God which passes understanding, because it keeps the hearts and minds of men in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ.
He was in the world, and the world knew Him not. It was so on the first Christmas Day. It has been so on every Christmas Day since. "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God." It was so on the first Christmas Day. It has been so ever since. What can you and I do about it? We can be among those who receive Him, meekly kneeling on our knees to receive the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, that He may dwell in us, and we in Him.
Affectionately in Our Lord,