Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44

Dear Church Family,  Christmas is coming and we are in the middle of the most challenging Advent season in memory. Normally, as we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and prepare for his return, we’d do so physically together—worshiping, learning, and serving hand in hand. That’s not possible right now. Due to the rising number of cases in our community and the projections for even more, our church leaders, staff, and I have made the difficult decision to halt in-person gatherings and return to all-virtual worship to keep our congregation safe. Our 9am Elevate service and our 11am traditional service will continue to be live-streamed on our Facebook page every Sunday.  As for Christmas Eve, we will livestream services at 5pm, 7:30pm, and 11pm. You’ll find more details about those in our Lifeline newsletter, website, and Facebook page. Though much is different for all of us, none of our changes and challenges can prevent us from rejoicing in and welcoming Jesus Christ.

Christmas is coming and, even with the restrictions in place, our church has found other ways to wait and prepare this Advent season. We continue to worship every Sunday. Every Wednesday at 7pm, we are meeting online to study the life of Mary’s husband Joseph and what he can teach us about God, ourselves, and the meaning of Christmas. Though we are not holding our Christmas Stocking Party this year, we will be providing food and coats for families in need on December 19th. The response from our congregation proves that this pandemic isn’t keeping us from embracing the Spirit of the Season.

Christ is coming and if this past year has taught me anything it’s that the world as it is cannot compare to the world as it will be when Christ returns. The trials, troubles, and terrors of today are not forever. The reason we celebrate Advent isn’t just to remember that Jesus Christ came to us as a baby in a manger; it’s to refocus our lives on the truth that Jesus Christ will come again as our eternal king. So, regardless of what the world is like or what challenges we face, we are called to embody the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christ as we continue making disciples and building God’s Kingdom until Christ returns. We will get through this together. Take heart, nothing can change his promise and our calling.

Christ is coming. Be ready.  Yours in Christ, Pastor John

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