A week from today we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. For many, this is a day of family gatherings (for better or for worse!). And for many, this year will look a bit different.
It will be just the four of us this year. It is disappointing in many ways, but we’re also trying to find new opportunities in this small family gathering. With a tendency to always cook twice as much as needed, I asked everyone what the one thing was they had to have for Thanksgiving. Stuffing for Delia. Buns for Andrew. Green bean casserole for Brad. And mashed potatoes for me. These are the necessities…and then there is turkey. As I sized-up turkeys this week, I wondered how our family of four would eat twenty pounds of meat. This will be a feat indeed.
I don’t know what our Thanksgiving will look like yet, but no matter how we celebrate, I pray that we will take time to give thanks. This is my prayer for you as well. May we all pause, if but for a moment, and give thanks for the undiscovered opportunities that are before us as we do so many things differently. And let us never forget that we are blessed, even when life is hard.
I am grateful for all of you and the ministry we do together. I give thanks with a grateful heart!
If you are anything like me, this election has been overwhelming. Confusion, uncertainty, frustration, and disappointment are just a few of the feelings I’ve experienced. How about you?
A not-so-secret “secret” in the pastor world is that we often preach what we need to hear most. Today as I write this, these words from Isaiah are what I need to hear. I hope they will be a helpful reminder for you as well in these trying times.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” -Isaiah 43:1b
Whoever you voted for does not change whose you are. God has claimed you as a child of God. And you are deeply loved. As we look to the future, I pray we will move forward acting and speaking in ways that share our loving identity. I pray politics will not keep us from continuing our work to care for our neighbors and God’s incredible creation. I pray that each of us would live into this identity of beloved child of God.
Fear not! God is with us.
An Advent Like No Other
It’s hard to be believe, but Advent begins in November. As we reflect on eating far too much for Thanksgiving dinner AGAIN, we shift right into the season of Advent, a time when we prepare for the coming of the Christ child. But if we are realistic at all, we know that this year will not be normal.
As I think about this, there is a part of me that just wants to make friends with the Grinch and hibernate until it’s over. But there is another part of me that sees this as a great opportunity. Let’s not even try to recreate Christmas as we’ve always done and let’s embrace the opportunity before us.
As you will see by the plans we are making for this Advent and Christmas (see below), things will be different. We’re going to do a daily Advent Calendar on Facebook. We’re planning a drive or walk by Advent Event outside. We’ll have a special Christmas delivery for all of you. We’re imagining a BRIEF outdoor worship by candlelight on Christmas Eve. It may not look like it always has, but I believe it will be memorable. And most important of all, a child will be born into this messy and uncertain world reminding all of us that our hope is in God.
Make plans to join us this Advent and Christmas and consider being part of the many activities we will be doing to make this year special. As we look back on this Christmas, I hope we can fondly remember our COVID Christmas together.
With anticipation & hope,