Dear First Covenant Church Family,
When I started writing this letter I followed the usual pattern of recalling the events of the year and mostly talking about getting back to “normal” from the pandemic. I was making some good points but I thought, this is a holiday letter and I don’t want to just talk about the year. I wanted to talk about one of my favorite holiday words… ”Emmanuel.” I love to sing about it, I love to think about it and I love that it represents the greatest gift we could ever have received.
We first hear the name in Isaiah 7:14 where the prophet says “Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel1.” You all know that Emmanuel means God with us. It’s so amazing to think of God actually desiring to come to be with us. He walked among us. He looked people in the eye. He saw our best and worst, yet still he unconditionally loved us. I can’t fathom what it must have been like to physically be with Jesus. Would he have been a regular looking guy? Would I have been tempted to tease or make fun of him? What was his favorite food? Would I have deemed him a know-it-all and blocked out his teaching? I will never know these answers.
I am fortunate though, that after Jesus left this world he admonished his followers to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and that good news reached us. We didn’t physically walk with Jesus but through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we get to have the same experience of walking with him, knowing him and experiencing his power and love. Emmanuel is a gift that we receive but we also can give to others.
FCC has been a church committed to equipping people to live an “Emmanuel life” and to share the gift of knowing Christ with others. We are very grateful for the ministries of our church and the opportunity to be light to our city and the world. The work of our church is generously supported by you through your time, prayers, talent, finances, and fellowship. As Pastor Marco recently preached “the church is a gift to this world.” Thank you all for your generosity.
If you’re able, please consider some of the additional opportunities for giving this Christmas season. You may make these gifts on our website, FCC app “give” button, or by check made out to First Covenant Church Oakland.
Year End Christ Gift to FCC’s General Fund: A gift of any size is a blessing and contributes to the operations and ministry;
Deacon Benevolence Fund: The Benevolence Fund provides confidential financial support for individuals and families in our church community who are facing financial crisis; and
Staff Christmas Gift: Our congregation customarily has used Christmas to thank church staff for their hard work and dedication.
We understand that some of you may be facing your own financial challenges, and we ask that you reach out to our Deacons, Deaconesses, and Pastors. Please email email@example.com or call the church office at 510-531-5244.
Thank you for loving our church. Thank you for your faithfulness to our God. Thank you for living a life of “God with us.” Thank you for sharing your gift with others.
Colossians 2:9,10 - For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
Merry Christmas Church Family. I pray your holiday is filled with realization and moments of having God with us!
Chairperson, FCC Church Board
1The “E” version of Emmanual is Romanized, the original language uses the “I”