Dear FUMC Family,
It's hard to believe, but Christmas is almost here! I want to thank each of you for all you've done to make our Advent season of preparation such a hopeful, meaningful time. Over the past few weeks I've been reminded time and time again of what a great and awesome privilege I have to serve as your pastor. My prayer for you, and for me, is that we will experience in these holy days something of the wonderful gift God has given to us by coming into our world as Jesus Christ, and that we'll recommit ourselves to the goal and meaning of our faith: to allow Christ to so inhabit and infuse our lives that we become like him in every way, full of love, grace and truth for the sake of our community and beyond.
I do hope you will join us on Sunday, Christmas Eve, as we worship together. We have four services planned. In the morning, we'll observe the
Fourth Sunday of Advent at our 8:30 and 11:00 services
. Our scripture comes from
, the amazing story of Mary's faithful response to the angel Gabriel and her
of what God is up to as Jesus comes into our world. We'll take a look at A Charlie Brown Christmas to help guide us.
Christmas Eve services this year are at 5:00 and 7:00. At 5:00, our children, youth and college students will lead us in our
Family Nativity Service at 5. We'll stage an impromptu nativity, hear from our youth and college choir, and share in the lighting of candles as we sing "Silent Night" together. Our Chancel Choir will lead us in a
Service of Holy Communion at 7 and we will end with candle lighting together. These are always the most beautiful services of the year. In the midst of your celebrations, I hope can be here, and also invite and bring friends, family members and neighbors to join us.
Christmas reminds us that God crosses every barrier--even the barrier between death and life, the barrier between heaven and earth--to come to us as
. One of the Early Church Fathers, Ephriam the Syrian put it this way: "
This Lord of natures was transformed contrary to His nature; it is not too difficult for us to also overthrow our evil will."
What a hopeful word for us! God has crossed every barrier to reach us, so that there can be no barriers preventing us from reaching God, and living as God's faithful people in the world. May it be so for you and for me and for all God's people, now and always.