7 Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver. ~ 2 Corinthians 9:7
Greetings beloved St. Paulians and Family in Faith! Before I share some wonderful details for this Christmas season, I want to express my deep, deep gratitude for your amazing generosity during this time of social isolation due to the pandemic. We are all struggling in many ways during this difficult time, and finances are certainly one of those struggles. However, thanks to you our church has been able to continue with so many of our ministries, and to support our fabulous staff. Thank you! If you are willing and able to give a thank offering this year, we are designating the Christmas offering to the ministries and missions of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Thank you so very, very much!
Christmas Eve is less than a week away!
- First, I need you! If you are not able to come to the Luminary Path Meditative Walk, where we will be able to take your picture with a Christmas Eve candle, then please send me pictures, or ever a short video, of you and your household holding lit candles or lighting candles. We want to create a very special “Silent Night” ending to our Christmas Eve service. We need pictures of all our family and friends.
- Second, as our worship series says over and over, let’s fill the night with music and light! At 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve, go outside and ring some bells! If you are able, come down to the church steps. We will have luminaries on the stairs. We can stand 6 feet apart with masks and ring bells together!
- Finally, the Christmas Eve service will be aired live at 4:00 pm on the 24th. It is a service of Holy Communion so have your bread and cup ready to go. Making or buying a special bread would be a great way to make the service even more special. And, of course, have your candles ready for the singing of “Silent Night.” We will load the service up to our website as soon as possible—if all goes well with technology, it takes about an hour.
Christmas Eve candles are available at the Luminary Path Meditative Walk and on the SIDE porch of the parsonage.
As we close 2020 and look forward to 2021, I have prepared a simple New Year devotional video. The video will be shared through the Tuesday Tidings email on December 29 and on our website and social media platforms New Year’s Eve.
Hope is on the horizon. The vaccines for COVID-19 are on their way to our front-line healthcare workers and to the residents in area nursing homes. However, it will take time for the vaccinations to reach the larger population. We must be patient. We must be diligent in our safety measures. We all long to be with our family and friends to celebrate the holidays, but contact tracing has revealed that small, indoor gatherings are a huge risk for spreading the virus. Remember several months ago, I used the metaphor of cigarette smoke. We all know the dangers of secondhand smoke. The virus operates much the way the smoke from one cigarette does in an enclosed space. The smaller the space, the quicker the smoke reaches all the people in the space. The longer the cigarette burns, the more the space is filled with smoke. Until vaccines are available for all of us, we must be diligent. Stay home wherever possible. Wear a mask whenever you encounter someone who isn’t part of your immediate household and keep six feet of distance. Wash your hands. Carry sanitizer. Let us love our neighbors, love ourselves, and in doing so, show our love for God.
Christmas hope, peace, love and joy be with you all! I hold you in prayer daily.