It’s that time of year, a season of the year filled with expectation and anticipation.  It is a season that comes after a time this summer that was filled with expectation and anticipation as new bishops were elected at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference and assignments of bishops were made, a time when the Northwest Texas and New Mexico Annual Conferences were momentarily left wondering what was going to happen next.  In an instant, the expectations and anticipation turned from excitement to disappointment and uncertainty.

Then, in the midst of expectations dashed and anticipations dulled, the wonderful gift of not one, but two extremely gifted and graced servant leaders of God was received as they were assigned to serve for an “interim” time as the resident Bishops of the Northwest Texas and New Mexico Episcopal Area.  What a blessing it continues to be for this episcopal area to be inspired, challenged, encouraged, affirmed and led by Bishop Solomon and Bishop Hutchinson through their faithful and fruitful ministry.  In the midst of disappointment and uncertainty, came a new beginning filled with renewed anticipation and expectation of great things to come.

Now, with the recent Judicial Council ruling, it is once again a time of expectation and anticipation of who God will provide and call to lead and to serve the Northwest Texas Conference and this episcopal area.  Given all that has transpired over the past several months, our anticipation and expectation might be accompanied by hope for healing and reconciliation, anxiety and uncertainty, affirmation of great gifts and graces of one called by God to serve and lead as a bishop, and excitement about the bright future to which God is calling us with a new episcopal leader as we continue to make and grow disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and the Northwest Texas Conference.  It is a time of great expectation and hopeful anticipation for the future into which God is calling us in this vital part of God’s Kingdom here on earth filled with faithful, loving, caring, and spirit-filled disciples bearing fruit for the sake of Christ.

Most importantly, it’s that time of year when we wait with great expectation and anticipation for the coming of the Lord into the world.  It’s that time of the year when we prepare our hearts and minds for the Advent of a promise fulfilled.  It’s that time of year when we give thanks to God for the new life we have received through Christ, our Lord, and anticipate His being born into the world and into our lives each day.  And it’s that time of year that we experience Emmanuel, God with us, as we live the life of faith, a faith filled with trust, hope, assurance and great joy in all that God has planned and will provide for us, all made possible by the Babe in the manger.

It’s that time of year when we await anew the coming of the Christ Child into the world, the One who lovingly walks with us each day as we serve as His disciples in the mission field . . . 8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.  9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people; 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:8-11, NRSV)



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