Christmas

  • "For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." -- Isaiah 9:6

    This year continues to bring us face to face with things we will miss and opportunities to build new traditions. We will miss being in person for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. Yet in the midst of the grief and challenges of this pandemic, God’s grace with it’s persistent nature of blessings, is doing new things.

    We hope that you are able to gather with us for Christmas Worship.  Our Christmas Worship opportunities are:

    • 7:00pm Christmas Eve - This festival Service of Holy Communion will include a re-telling of the Christmas Story by our youth, all recorded and edited remotely. And we are inviting everyone who can to have at least one candle (or one for everyone in your household) ready to light when we sing Silent Night together on Christmas Eve. We may not be able to hear each other sing, but if we all turn our video on for at least that portion of worship, we can be joined in a tangible sign of togetherness and a sea of beautiful light.
    • 10:30am Christmas Day - We'll gather for a service of the Word with more Christmas Carol singing, and our wonderful family musicians.

    Yes, many things may be different this year, but the irrepressible nature of God’s blessings, spilling over into this world through our Savior’s birth remains a constant, and invites us to constant praise as we remember that Jesus, Emmanuel, is indeed “God with us.”

  • As we move through this season of Advent, this season of preparation for the Festival arrival of our Savior the Christ child, we Prepare to welcome Joy incarnate.

    But what does this Preparation look like, and what does this Joy mean?

    I imagine that many of us have heard and are familiar with the words from Isaiah, associated with John the Baptist: “Prepare the way of the Lord!” Yet We may be less familiar with another portion of this same passage, in which the prophet Isaiah says that this preparation is so that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

  • A teenage girl named Mary, learning she is pregnant with God’s son; Jesus who is the Messiah, born in a lowly stable in a land under oppressive Roman occupation; Shepherds, low in social stature and Angels singing on high – all of these characters and more are part of the rich layers of a story intended to capture our imaginations, hearts, and lives with its gritty reality and hope-filled narrative each and every time it is told.

  • Some day I want to be part of staging the biggest Christmas Pageant ever!

    There will be beautiful organ music playing and a gigantic children and adult’s choir singing classical Christmas carols, but there will also be an African steel drum band and interpretive dance ensemble. The woman who designed the larger than life animal puppets (carried by two people each) for the Lion King on Broadway will create animals for the manger scene. We’ll build an actual stable, complete with hayloft and cooing doves. We’ll set up the stable far ahead of time and outside somewhere so that real animals can live inside for a while so that the whole area, even after it is cleansed from all that animals can leave behind that we’d rather none of the actors step in, have a more authentic smell and feel to it. There will be real flying angels – children strapped in harnesses singing “Glory to God in the Highest and Peace to God’s people on earth.” This staging of the Christmas Nativity will be multicultural and multinational. I’m thinking Disney meets the United Nations meets the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall meets the acrobatic circus Cirque De Soleil.

  • Including today, there are actually three more days of Christmas. Three more days to especially praise God for the gift of the Christ child, sent to heal the sins of the world. Three more days to especially praise God for becoming the Love that Came Down, the Love that Comes Down to dwell among us. Yet we are celebrating the Epiphany today, the festival that comes right on the heels of the twelve days of Christmas and which this year would land on Wednesday of this week. Epiphany; the occasion of the wise men – or wise guys as I sometimes fondly think of them – the wise men arriving to visit the baby Jesus, presenting him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gifts fit for a king.

    Now, I imagine that we all know that the best gifts are the ones that money can’t buy.

  • “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”

    As a child I was given a small wooden box in the shape of a heart. I’m not sure if it was for my birthday or for Christmas. I’m not sure if it came from my parents or maybe from my maternal grandmother. But I remember that it was beautiful, stained and polyurethaned, with vines stenciled on the front.

    And I knew I only wanted to put truly special things in that heart shaped box. Such as the small garnet stones I had gotten in the Adirondacks or the baby tooth I had from when I was little (I was 8 years old by the time I received this box, after all, practically grown up in my own mind).

    I treasured that box and I treasured and pondered the things it held for me, the treasures inside; what they meant in and of themselves, and what they meant to me, the one lucky enough to be entrusted with them.