Main Menu

Audio/Video Library
About Us
Building for Christ
Clergy Directory
Church Directory
Contact Us
Diocesan Office
Diocesan Structure
Global South
Parochial Report
Staff Directory
Our Seal
Visiting Bishop
Bishop Lawrence
About Us
Statement of Faith
Job Openings
Anglican Partnerships
Bishop Lawrence
Bishop's Schedule
About Bishop Lawrence
Bishop's Messages
Anglican Missional Partnerships
Commission on Ministry
Diocesan Council
Ecclesiastical Court
Finance Department
Liturgy and Worship
Provincial Affiliation
Standing Committee
Jubilate Deo
Photo Gallery
Submission Guidelines
Photo Albums
Treasurers' Tips
Contact Us
Staff Directory
Clergy Directory
Church Directory
Search for Church
Contact Us
Convention Information
Convention News
Convention Journals
Convention Archives
Convention Audio and Video Files
Donate Now
Diocesan Council
Standing Committee
Statement of Faith
Anglican Leadership Institute
St. Christopher
Canterbury House
Porter Gaud School
SC Episcopal Home
Voorhees College
York Place
Job Openings
Legal Defense Fund
Legal News & Media
Ministries & Departments
1670 Legacy
Addiction Recovery
Anglicans for Life
Anglican Relief and Development Fund
Brothrhd of St. Andrew
Christian Faith Formation
Young Adult Ministry
Daughters of the King
Faith Encouragement Ministries
Hispanic Ministry
Kairos Prison Ministry
Order of Saint Vincent
Social Ministries
St. Luke - Physician
Men's Ministry
Women's Ministry
Youth Ministry
News & Events
Jubilate Deo
Submission Guidelines
Latest News
Job Openings
Photo Gallery
Media Room
Diocesan Calendar
Audio/Video Library
Resources - Clergy
Cursillo Application
Ordination Process
Supply Clergy
Sabbatical Guidelines
Parochial Report Forms
Visitation Customary
Pension Information
Job Openings
Benefits & Compensation
Child Abuse Prevention
Commission on Ministry
Resources - General
Background Check
Diocesan Forms
Diocesan Payroll Plan
Disaster Preparedness
Hurricane Preparedness
Letter of Agreement Rector
Medical Insurance
Ordination Process
Parish Audits
Parochial Report
Parochial Report Forms
Prayer Calendar
Risk Management
Vestry Handbook
Safeguarding God's Children
Treasurer's Office
Dio. Audited Fin.l Stmts.
Clergy Compensation
Clergy Salary Worksheet
Declaration of Intent
Employee Classification
Parish Audits
Pledge Report
Sample Housing Resolutions
Treasurers' Tips
Housing Allowance Worksheet
Overtime Rules
Parochial Report Forms
Make a Payment

Who's Online Now

We have 185 guests and no members online


Homes for Christmas

There are many words associated with Christmas. A word association would yield various responses such as Christmas—presents, candles, tree, shopping, carols, Jesus. But I’d be surprised if in a group of twenty people at least one didn’t say—“home”. Christmas is one holiday most people want to celebrate at home—just ask one of our servicemen or women. The popular song of the WW II era expresses this sentiment well:

I’ll be home for Christmas/You can count on me
I’ll be home for Christmas/If only in my dreams.

Even among those who are not concerned about being “home” for the holidays, chances are they at least want to be with family or close friends. Certainly the heart of the Christmas message is not about home or even family, yet, when the angels first announced their message to the shepherds, “Fear not … for to you is born a savior who is Christ the Lord”, the breathless Bedouins did in fact find the Holy Family there around the manger. While perhaps not a house or an inn, the stable was a home—at least for the night!

Of Joseph, we see only vague shadows. He seems to have shunned the spotlight. A righteous man, discreet and compassionate, he was by trade a carpenter or as some New Testament scholars suggest, a “house builder”. More importantly, if Jesus and his stepbrother James (Acts 1:14; 15:13; I Cor. 15:7) are any indication, he was a “home-builder”, which is what we so desperately need from men today. We know a little more about Jesus’ mother, Mary. Of her great, self-less obedience to God’s awesome call there is no doubt. Her holiness, purity of heart and humility are evident whenever she appears on the pages of Holy Scripture. Still, glimpses into the life of the holy family are rare.

Three qualities, however, seem evident. First, there was a firm, but loving authority in the home. This can be seen in the one episode where there was a misunderstanding between Jesus and his parents. (Luke 2:41ff) A second familial practice was implicit in this event: they were faithful in keeping holy days, as well as in Sabbath and synagogue worship. Thirdly, both Mary and Jesus demonstrated a deep intimacy with the Hebrew Scriptures. Great portions of the Law, Prophets and Psalms appear to have been memorized. We might like to know more about their daily lives, but this much we may safely assume: There was a strong, positive and loving discipline; a sure trust in God’s providential care; a commitment to regular worship; and a deep and practical knowledge of the Scriptures. 

How such qualities are needed today in our homes—where

  • the Bible is read and children hear and see their parents reading and praying the Scripture
  • prayers are said as individuals and as families
  • parents and children go to church and worship together
  • God’s name is spoken with reverence and where his teachings are believed
  • wholesome and proper authority is respected
It was from this kind of home that Jesus went out to minister to a hurting world. For those of us who are parents or grandparents is there any better gift we can give our children or grandchildren than a decision to model our home and family in this way? Perhaps you’re a young couple just beginning your marriage or recently engaged. Decide now to keep your Bible nearby and read. Say prayers together (the Prayer book has Family services for this) and attend worship together.

During Christmas some homes come under added stress. This is true for those already torn by excessive arguments, marital struggles, addictions, unruly children, busy schedules, or un-forgiveness, bitterness, and nursed resentments. Perhaps through God’s grace the greatest gift one can give a husband or wife, parent or child is the gift of forgiveness, a clean slate and a rekindled, loving relationship. This is one of the gifts the Christ Child can uniquely bring—for he was born to save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

This is also a time to remember those whose homes are broken. A divorce has shattered the dreams that once united two people; a single parent now struggles to do what even two parents sometimes find too demanding. We should not forget that even Mary came one dream away from being a single parent. (Matthew 1:18ff) In yet another home, a widow makes her way in a now lonely house. How important it is to remember that Mary and Joseph shared the joy of the baby Jesus with the aging Simeon and the widowed Anna. (Luke 2:22ff) They were brought into the glow and circle of Christ’s family and so the Church should do the same today for those who live alone as we share our lives and our homes.

Finally, we should remember there are many who are homeless—political and religious refugees, war-scarred, battle-wearied, and hungry —some in Iraq, Iran, Syria, or in Egypt and Ethiopia where we have diocesan partnerships. These are places where the gospel was first heard and where the Holy Family found refuge and now where the Church hangs on by a thread of hope and prayers of the saints. Let us remember them at our Christmas Eucharist and throughout this Christmastide.

It is a wonderful gift to be home for Christmas, or to be with family and friends. It is even a greater blessing to have Christ and the joy of Christmas in our family, our friendships and our homes.
A Blessed Christmastide to You and Yours,

+Mark Joseph Lawrence
XIV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina

 Let's Connect!

like us on facebook

Visit Bishop's Blog

enews head from

Sign up for our e-newsletter.

View past issues of e-newsletter.

Latest News

Online Advent Devotional Released
Wed, November 1, 2017

Sign up to receive a Daily Advent Devotional in your Inbox St. Paul’s, Conway, offering “Come, Lord Jesus”
St. Paul's, Conway, is producing a  [ ... ]

latest news+ Full Story
Other Articles