How I long to be with you worshipping this Christmas Eve.
This advent season has been a difficult one. It has been hard to get into a holiday spirit this year. Our traditions of choirs singing, organ concerts, handbells ringing, children standing on stage singing in the Christmas Pageant, and gathering for advent worship every week have been interrupted. Every day brings about more meetings and time on a computer screen. I miss seeing your faces, and I know you all do too.
We have been challenged this year.
Covid forced us to reinvent how we engage with one another as a community. Messiah Lutheran Church stepped up to this challenge and has met it head-on with enthusiasm, determination, and tenacity. It feels a lot like an oyster dealing with a piece of grit. That grit can irritate the oyster to no end. But with patience and determination, that piece of grit transforms into a beautiful pearl. Covid is our piece of grit. While it has been frustrating to have guidelines change on us due to surges of the virus, I am convinced that we will emerge on the other side of the pandemic with our pearl. We will be thankful to be with each other like never before. We will be able to continue our new opportunities of engaging our community through technology. We have begun the process of redefining what it means to be a member of the body of Christ. We are adapting.
This transition we were forced to undertake could not have happened without our beloved staff.
They have worked tirelessly to bring all of us ways to commune with each other. They have had to learn new technology necessary to bring live worship services to us in our homes each Sunday. They have had to find ways to create music with individuals without being able to gather. They have had to create Sunday School lessons to be done virtually. They have had to completely redo our website to facilitate opportunities for each member to connect to the whole congregation. This work is tireless and unending. It is easy for us to take for granted the amazing work our staff does each day for us. If you have not done so lately, I encourage you to drop a word of thanks or a message of encouragement to a staff member. These can go a long way to sustaining our staff during this season.
Messiah Lutheran Church would not be where it is without you.
Our council would like to take time to thank you for your efforts in ensuring we are able to continue our ministries. Without you, we would not be able to continue our Sunday afternoon meals and our food bank. Without your generosity this year, we would not be in a healthy financial position going into the next year. Without your generosity, we would not have met and exceeded our goal of letters of intent submitted. You have met the challenge placed before you. Thank you to the twelve families who supported our congregational challenge and have committed to giving over ten thousand dollars combined above their stated giving for the following year. Thank you for your commitment to Messiah Lutheran’s ministry.
While we continue to look forward to the day we can gather again in person, I am grateful for Messiah Lutheran Church.
I am thankful for the leadership of Pastor Chuck. I am thankful for Pastor Susan joining our ministry. I am thankful for Jan’s work on our website. I am thankful for Savannah maintaining our Sunday School Program virtually. I am thankful for Tia organizing and directing our worship services every week. I am thankful for Katie’s organizing and playing the beautiful music we hear each Sunday. I am thankful for Pam’s work with our finances. I am especially thankful for Lynne. Without her, I am not sure how we would function.
May God bless you this Christmas, and may God bless the ministry of Messiah Lutheran Church in 2021.