Despite not going to bed until after 1:00 a.m., I woke up early on Christmas Day excited about our trip to visit my family in Texas. I was looking forward to some time off and time with family this Christmas season. I was also thankful for the experience of worshipping together on Christmas Eve with you. Thankful for our savior’s birth. Thankful to all of our musicians who made it possible for Simona to be present with us as she could and with her father as well and for sharing your gifts in wonderful music and song. I was thankful for the candle lighting and the opportunity to hold the light from the Christ candle up into the darkness. What a powerful symbol of our faith and ministry when we let our light shine in the darkness!
Our Advent focus on celebrating a different kind of Christmas and living and giving like Jesus prepares us for the year ahead. Planning and conversation are underway to follow through on the plans we talked about in October. Session has approved the creation of a parish associate position. More steps still need to be taken before it is finalized, but the Session has taken a first step toward broadening our pastoral leadership and ministry. Work has begun to rejuvenate our youth ministry, with planning for activities to both nurture their faith and offer hands-on ministry opportunities. The goal as we discussed in October is to build a sustainable youth ministry. So, a conversation will begin soon with all who might be interested in working on that part of our ministry. And, these are just two ways we can live and give in new and broader ways to people. Each new year holds many opportunities for our commissions to lead us in growing, reaching out and sharing our faith with many.
As we consider how we might take a different path away from the manger, we continue to expand on the faithful work we are already doing. One immediate sign of that new life is the two adult forum classes that will take place on Sunday morning and another new opportunity for spiritual growth on Sunday evenings. Take a look at the adult forum information in this newsletter. Our hope is to offer more ways for people to grow and nurture their own faith, as well as the faith of their families. I hope you will join us!
Advent preparations and Christmas celebrations are the beginning of the Christian new year. They prepare us to head into 2013 by another road. God invites us to track Jesus (remember GPS Jesus?). God wants us to go where Jesus goes and bring good news. I’m looking forward to what that journey will be for us and where we will go. And, I’m so glad that it will be together. Thank you for your faithfulness in sharing God grace, love and light for all to see and know.
May you have a blessed and happy new year!