Advent greetings in the name of our life-giving God!
As we prepare for Christmas and expect the love of Jesus to be born into the world, I give thanks for you and all the ways you have shown love to me and my family in tangible ways. Your cards, meals and prayers have buoyed us during the whirlwind season of having a newborn and we are grateful.
The word Advent means "toward what is to come." This is the season in which new things are becoming and we wait and watch expectantly. Advent is particularly poignant for me this year because of all the newness in my life and waiting for what is to become: watching my ever-changing two month-old become his own person; my daughter become a big sister; and all the preparation and uncertainty that comes with a cross-country move. Fortunately, many details are in place, as we've sold our house and found a place to rent. Kyle is loving his job and knows this is what he is called to do.
But there is much we don't know and I admit some fear about what might become: will we make friends? Will there be a new church to pastor and who will they be? How will the kids adjust?
You, at Grace, are in a season of becoming, too, as you move into a season of pastoral transition. I am THRILLED that Rev. Stacey Rushing will be your new pastor, and I said a prayer of thanksgiving when I heard the good news! I have known Stacey since our days at Candler, but have grown closer to her over the last few years as we've been colleagues in ministry together. She is passionate, smart and caring. She is deeply committed to ministry and particularly to sharing God's love with everybody, inside and outside the walls of the church. I have no doubt that she will love you and you will love her. And yet I'm sure there are many questions about how your relationship will become.
The good news of Advent is that in the midst of our uncertainty and our doubts about what's next, and even our aches about letting go of what already is, God breaks in with love. And light. And salvation. Says: Do not Fear our doubts and questions. And promises that what is to become is more glorious than we could ever imagine.
I remember how nervous I was my first Sunday at Grace-so much unknown. But now I look back at what has become with wonder and gratitude towards God and you.
This Sunday, December 18
th, we will be with you in worship as our children share the Christmas story in our annual pageant. We will celebrate the baptism of our son, Samuel. We want him to be baptized, that great ritual of becoming a Christian, in the Grace community, surrounded by your loving words and spirit. I will also have the great privilege of baptizing Madison Taylor. After worship we will celebrate together all that we have become and anticipate, with love and joy, what is next. I hope to see you on Sunday.
Grace, peace, and hope for what is becoming,