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Pastor’s Message – December 2020

~A Corona Christmas~

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

~ Romans 15:13

Dear Members and Friends,

Hope. Peace. Joy. Love. These are our prayer in the Advent season, those four weeks leading up to the Christmastime. But let’s be honest: Christmas isn’t going to be quite the same this year, is it? I mean, some of us will be spending the holidays alone, locked away inside our homes. Some will join up with loved ones over FaceTime or Zoom. But however we go about it, there will be very little in the way of handshakes, and hugs, and long embraces. You’ve probably already endured a corona birthday, and a corona Easter, and all those corona-summer-ersatz-vacations. As I write this page, we are all preparing for a corona Thanksgiving, and that will be hard enough. But a corona Christmas?

And yet! And yet…let me confide to you a little secret. For the past 17 years, I’ve been longing to spend Christmas at home with no one but my little family of four. We’ve never done that before. We’ve always spent Christmas Day on the road, rushing around to visit all the grandparents. I would never wish this pandemic and its horrible toll on the world or on any individual. But it has given us a few unexpected treasures, hasn’t it? I’m looking forward to a Christmas Day with nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one awaiting our arrival. It’s something that only a pandemic could give.

Of course, not everyone is like me. Some people dread a silent Christmas Day. Some live alone; some look forward to leaving their houses. They love all the noise and the scurry of the season. I know. It’s going to be hard. But let’s do our best to go bravely into Advent and Christmastime this year. Let’s tell ourselves from the start: It’s only one year. This strange corona Christmas is just one time. Next year, God willing, our holiday traditions will return to normal. But this year we have a golden opportunity to celebrate Christmas in new and unaccustomed ways. What would you think about resurrecting the Christmas letter just for this year? Or at least returning to the tradition of sending out Christmas cards, handwritten, with a private note for every recipient? You might spend Christmas Day playing online checkers with an old friend. What might you think about writing down your favorite Christmas memories and sharing them with someone special? Might there not be a new joy in scaling it back, just for one year, and keeping it simple?

Hope. Peace. Joy. Love. Our souls have known to collect these things for us down through the good years, so that they can bear us through the bad. And they will! Let’s go into this season meditating on the things that give us hope; seeking peace in our hearts and in our world; remembering life’s joy, which is our strength. And let us always, always choose love. Join us online for our weekly Advent services each Sunday, and our Advent Bible Study on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom beginning on December 2. (details in newsletter). Be sure to take part in our regular Christmas Eve candlelight service; the choir will be performing special pieces from Handel’s Messiah. Merry corona Christmas to you!

In Christ’s Peace


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