It’s finally here – my absolute favorite time of the year! There is nothing quite like Advent (the season leading up to Christmas) and Christmastide. Even this year, with all the differences we are seeing, the world is aglow with lights and candles everywhere. It is truly a wonder to behold.

Now, it is true that this year’s holiday season will be one unlike any other.
For some of us, it will be a new experience – one without something or someone that we have known for much of our lives. It will be different. It will, in many ways, be difficult. But as Judy Garland once sang, we’ll have to muddle through somehow. And I am convinced that somewhere, even in the midst of what will certainly not be an easy season, we will still find moments of hope, peace, love, and yes, even joy.

For all of us, this December will offer us the unusual opportunity to experience the birth of Christ in a brand new way. As I said this past Sunday, we know the story. We know the costumes and the lines. We know the songs and the melodies. But what if having to sit outside of our normal seats or listening behind screens somehow forces us into just enough discomfort to pay a bit more attention to the words that we have heard so many times before? What if the children’s new telling of the nativity later this month on zoom brings out the joyous hot messiness of this beautiful life that God entered into on that quiet night in Bethlehem? What if stepping out into the night, with candles lit on Christmas Eve to sing Silent Night becomes our new favorite tradition?

No matter what may come, no one can cancel Christmas. It will happen. The baby’s cry will break the still night in Galilee. The night sky over Bethlehem will fill with the heavenly host. Do not be afraid. The good news of great joy will still ring out. God with us is here. Born in the flesh.

My encouragement to you is to look at this strange new world we live in not as King Herod did – as one who could lose everything he has ever known. Instead, take the view of the Magi – look for the chances you have before you to be creative, to use your imagination, to listen for God’s voice in the midst of a hurting world, to offer all that you have to see it grow brighter.

We will still be welcoming God’s love in whatever shape or form it may arrive or however we need to do so. Because that is what Christmas is truly about. And that will happen no matter what.

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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