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“God is not distant or impassive to the pain and confusion we are left with, but is a real and present Comforter among us.”
~Jamie Arpin-Ricci

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Can you believe that it’s almost over? We made it through half of 2021 without a second Lockdown, so that’s wonderful news. Many of us are still riding the Thanksgiving high all the way until New Years, and why wouldn’t you? It’s been wonderful to see family and friends in person as opposed to on a  screen. It’s been wonderful to travel freely between States and Counties without fear. It’s been wonderful to partially be liberated from masks in certain spaces. Still, amongst all of these wonderful things, one might wonder when the other shoe will drop? Yes, we are still in the midst of a novel Pandemic, and life is not quite the normal that we’d like for it to be. The truth is that the vaccines did not fix everything for a plethora of reasons including but not limited to vaccine hesitancy and disparity between nations and people. We are all in our own way waiting for the world to change for the better. Waiting with anxiety, doubt, excitement, and hope. We’ve all been waiting for an end to COVID-19 and subsequent tragedies that have been born from it. Fortunately, the Season of Advent is all about waiting. There is a saying that a watched pot does not boil, but when it does, the boiling water is changed into something new. Not quite what it once was, but still, in its essence, itself in spite of the transformation. We have all been changed these past two years in ways that we are still coping with during this period of waiting. I believe that it will be healthy to take time to process these changes as a worshiping community. In response to this unspoken need, our Seminarian, Ingrid Peterson has agreed to host a Blue Christmas Service on the longest night of the year, December 21st. In leading up to this event, I will be crafting a sermon series based on Kathy Escobar’s, A Weary World: Reflections for a Blue Christmas, during the Sundays of this Bluest Season. Our Council Members will also present an Offering Expression based on each week’s theme. Week 1 was Honoring Reality, Week 2 will be Practicing Honesty, Week 3 will be Embracing Paradox,
and Week 4 will be Borrowing Hope. All of these weeks will lead us to the central theme of our Christianity, that God is with us on Christmas Eve and always. We have all lost something these past two years: identity, purpose, occupations, health, homes, and loved ones. We have also gained something these past two years: discovery, redirection, friendships, and renewal. Between the good and the bad of what we have endured, God is with us. remember that that as we close out this year 2 in anticipation for a new one. . .

“For a child has been born to us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders, and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
~Isaiah 9

In God’s Abiding Love,

Pastor Jeniffer Tillman
Mission Developer