Dear Siblings in Christ,
The holiday season is often one during which we feel expectations to be filled with cheer and happiness. And yet the pain and hardship of life doesn’t end just because this year draws to a close. In every year there are many who are grieving the loss of loved ones, who struggle with mental and physical health challenges, who have financial concerns, or a face a multitude of other pain. In this year especially, we mourn in community the loss of so much of what we consider normal.
We weep for the 1.7 million people worldwide who have died as a result of COVID-19, along with their families and loved ones. We sit in the pits of grief with communities that will forever be changed by this pandemic. We worry about the long-lasting economic, health, and educational effects we have yet to experience. And we mourn the loss of in-person community. We miss gathering together for worship in our building, singing and praying together as well as hugging and holding one another. We know that our celebrations on Christmas Eve and Day will be very different. We long to join our hearts and voices together in praise of the One who comes to us. As people of faith, we know that lament is a part of life. So today we lament all that we have lost and all that will be lost. We weep and mourn together for ourselves, our community, and our world. And we can take a moment of silence to honor this grief.
As we hear the words from Luke’s nativity story in our video, we are reminded that he focuses not on the emperor or the powerful individuals who are in charge. Instead, he draws attention to this young, ordinary couple from a small town who are obeying the will of the emperor. Luke tells us that it is through this seemingly insignificant and powerless couple that God will save the world. It’s an unexpected action that goes against the norm – and it’s an action that continues throughout the ages that reminds us of how God shows up in the world.
When we feel overwhelmed by things we can’t control in the world or in our lives, God reminds us that we are still cared for through the small, often easily overlooked gestures of love and fidelity. Whether we are helping a neighbor, providing a meal to someone who needs it, sacrificing our traditions to keep one another safe, or keeping one another in prayer, we see God at work, still changing, loving, and blessing the world. At a time when we are missing so many of our usual holiday traditions, perhaps we may we find comfort in knowing that God is with us, still at work in the many, many small gestures of love and care we offer one another.
May you experience the love and peace of our Savior, Jesus Christ, this season.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas,
You may access the Christmas Eve worship service at the link below anytime after 2pm — and a download of the bulletin is located below. If you have trouble accessing any of these, please let me know.