Christmastide Ponderings

Christmastide Ponderings

Dear Friends,

We have again arrived in the time of the Christian year called Christmastide, the twelve days of Christmas leading to Epiphany (January 6). Though we have been here on many other occasions, this moment is unique.

It is not the first time the world has been in turmoil, our nation has experienced polarization, or conflict has marked the church. But the particularities of this Christmas season belong to our specific context and life situations. And the Good News of the Christ Child coming into the world is as transformative to us today as it was to those first century men and women featured in Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels. 

The arrival of Jesus on earth that first Christmas so long ago changed the lives of shepherds in a field, Wise Men from the East, a peasant girl and her hard-working artisan husband, and a prophet and prophetess who frequented the Temple in Jerusalem. These centuries later the Christ Child continues to have a transformative effect on those who receive him with open arms and hearts.

Ask the child whose foster parents are introducing her to the meaning of Christmas by providing the first loving, stable, home environment she has ever known. Or the elderly homebound man who is reminded by Christmas carolers that neither his church family nor God has forgotten him. Or the financially-strapped single parent working at a local diner on Christmas Eve who is blessed when the guests at a table she serves ask how they can pray for her, and is later overwhelmed when those same guests put feet to their prayers by leaving a tip of one hundred dollars along with a note of gratitude for her quality service. You fill in the blank on how the Christ Child is transforming the life of someone you know. Then describe how Jesus is bringing transformation to your life. Finally, consider how you might be a part of God’s transformative work in the life of another.

Yes, we have experienced the season of Christmastide on many occasions. Yet we have not previously been in this particular Christmas season.  The Christ Child’s birth continues to change lives. How is it changing someone you know? How is Jesus Christ changing you? How can you offer Christ’s life-changing love and grace to another? 

As always, it is a joy to serve as your bishop.

Christmas Blessings,
Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
Holston and North Alabama Conferences    


Debra Wallace-Padgett

The Reverend Dr. Debra Wallace-Padgett was elected a Bishop of the United Methodist Church at the 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. At the time of her election, she was the lead pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lexington, ...