Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church
Dear Members and Friends of Faith:
I am writing to wish you all a Merry Christmas in a year that, I think we can all agree, is not at all normal. The ongoing covid-19 pandemic means that many of us will be unable to celebrate with family and friends as we normally would. Adapting to regulations to contain the spread of the virus as much as possible has been incredibly challenging socially, economically, psychologically, and for many of us, spiritually.
No, this is not a normal year and will not be a normal Christmas.
But, then again, what is normal?
Has there ever been a Christmas yet where families have not been kept separated by one force or another somewhere in the world? Has there ever been a Christmas during which someone was not mourning the loss of a loved one through death or broken relationship? With the huge pressure to spend our way to a Merry Christmas every year, what Christmas has passed without financial anxiety?
What we are all experiencing together throughout the world this year, many, many people experience every Christmas, though usually in a quiet and hidden way.
This is not to ignore the impact that the pandemic has had on all our lives this past year – an impact that, for many people, has been absolutely devastating. Rather, it is to suggest that, maybe this year, we might have a greater understanding – empathy, if you will – of what is a common experience of much of the world’s population, not only at Christmas, but every day of the year.
That’s kind of what the birth of Jesus of Nazareth was all about. God loves us all very much, but because God is God, there would always be a divide between what was divine and what was created. But to become incarnate – to become Word made flesh that dwells among us – radically changes the human/divine relationship forever. God has become one of us, thus knowing intimately what each of us goes through everyday – joy and sorrow, life and death. At Christmas, in the birth of Jesus, God became “normal.”
So, on the one hand, this Christmas will not be normal for any of us, but on the other, it will be so full of normal – the kind of normal that most of the world experiences every day – that it just might change our relationship with so many in the world now that we have had but a small taste of what is truly normal in the world.
How ever you are celebrating the incarnation of God through the birth of the baby Jesus this year, I want you to know that your church family and I as your pastor miss you dearly, we are thinking about you, and praying for you. With thanks to God working through scientists to develop effective vaccines, we may be back together again “soon.” Until that day, God bless, and Merry Christmas.
Christmas Service Schedule
The covid-19 pandemic changes how we are able to celebrate Christmas as a faith community. Here are the options for Christmas services at Faith this year.
- In-person Christmas Eve Service, 7:00 PM. This service will be very similar in style to how we have been worshipping in-person on Sunday mornings. It will be a simple service of lessons, carols (sung at a soft whisper), and candle lighting. Attendance is limited to 45 people. Note that your must RSVP to attend this service by contacting the church office (519-753-3833 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and letting us know how many people will be attending.
- Pre-recorded service on YouTube. Many people have already volunteered to pre-record themselves reading a lesson or playing special music. This will be a service of lessons, carols, Holy Communion, and candle lighting that anyone with an internet connection will be able to access whenever is most convenient for them on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. We still welcome more volunteers to record prayers or more special music (such as the singing of carols) for this service.
- In-person Christmas Day Service, 10:00 AM. A very simple service of lessons and carols. Given the very low numbers who typically attend Christmas morning, we don’t think an RSVP is necessary. However, because people may not be spending the day with loved ones as they might usually have done, we thought it important to offer this in-person service.
- All the pandemic protocols remain (masks, physical distancing, etc.) remain in place for all in-person worship services.
- If the Public Health measures become more restrictive between now and Christmas, we will attempt to inform you of any changes in our services to the best of our ability.
- There is no New Year’s Service this year. Our regular service on December 27 with highlight the theme of New Year’s.