I hope you snowbirds are thinking about us and praying for your parish back home as you recline in your deserts or on your beaches. It has been dark and cold and bleak here. It has been so cold that my anointings have been gumming up and I have had to switch to a lower viscosity holy oil. It has been so cold here that people have been begging me to preach more about the fires of hell.
To be honest, there have been some brief moments of reprieve from the really bitter cold temperatures. For a few days it actually got above forty degrees. One woman told me, “I was so excited that when I stepped outside I nearly wet my plants.”
We have been watching and desperately eager for any small sign of spring. In December the Boy Scouts gave me a Christmas wreath that is hanging on my back deck. I will know that spring is near when it turns a lighter shade of brown.
I also have been told that one of the first signs of spring is the return of the male red-wing back-bird to the Midwest. The male black-bird always arrives back a few weeks before the female. He then proceeds to build several nests so that when the female returns she can choose the one she likes best in which to lay her eggs.
That’s how I see my work. Although I can’t prepare for you several parishes to choose from when you get back, I can guarantee that this one parish will be in good shape for you when you return – and is being cared for by a lot of good people while you are gone. There is no more worthy use of our time, talent, and treasure than to help our parish and school to grow strong – so that more people can know the fullness of the life that comes to us through Jesus Christ. May God strengthen us for this mission together.
Last year I asked you to speak to the priest at the parish you attend down there to see if you could arrange a parish swap with me next January. I’ll take his parish for a week and he can come and cover here for that same week. I figure he owes me at least that much for getting you all winter. None of you ever got back to me about that offer. I’d even let him borrow my flannel cassock.
We miss you snowbirds. Send me a postcard to warm my thoughts. Winter is getting to me. The squirrels soon will be running out of nuts to dig up and I’m afraid they will come after me. Hurry back!