Written by: Michael Bechard (Rev.), Executive Director
Northern Bridge Community Partnership
Baking and decorating sugar cookies, placing the angel on top of the tree and arranging the figures in the crèche are some of my fondest childhood memories. It is not the gifts that I remember the most but the presence of family and friends gathered to celebrate the Birth of Christ.
In his book, A Northern Nativity, Canadian artist William Kurelek invites us to consider how God reveals Himself today.
William Kurelek was born to Ukrainian-Canadian parents near in 1927 in Whitford, Alberta, and as a child, he moved to Manitoba, where memories of the harsh and happy experiences of growing up on a farm would later provide subject matter for his art. In 1949, the year he graduated from the University of Manitoba, the family moved to Ontario, and Kurelek enrolled at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. Throughout his whole life he struggled with issues of faith and justice. Many of these interior struggles were dealt with in his art. He died in Toronto in 1977.
In A Northern Nativity, Kurelek asks: What would happen if He came now? He dreams that the Christ child is born on indigenous people of the arctic, to those on the plains and to others who are marginalized. These modern nativities take place in a fisherman’s hut, a garage, a cowboy’s barn, that the holy family is given refuge in a city mission, a grain shed and a country school.
At the heart of these visual narrations, we are reminded that Christ has come into His creation as one of us and that He continues to walk among us. The question that we need to ask is whether or not we take the time to see Him or to ask if we respond when He is in need. I am confident that as our organization grows and our northern and southern young people are served, that God’s Reign is made manifest and that Love is born again.
Thank you for your spiritual and temporal support in this past year. Your donations, your service, and your prayers make our work possible.
May this Holy Season be blessed and your New Year filled with joy.