Christmas feels different this year. We are all trying to find safe ways to exchange gifts, help those in need, and celebrate the miraculous birth of a child. The anxiety associated with “unique” and “creative” is showing in all of our eyes. It’s funny how with our constant mask wearing, we really focus on the eyes now. Strange because so often, we avoid eye contact at all cost. Then again, this is 2020…everything is different.
Yet, in the midst of delayed packages and creative caroling this year, there in the heart of it all is still the Christ child. If our gifts don’t arrive on time, it’s okay. If we can’t sing Silent Night by candlelight in the sanctuary, we can sing it outside by a live Nativity. If we can’t all be together, it’s alright… we can safely make up for it later. We can love God and each other with our whole hearts, by doing everything possible to keep each other safe however we worship this Christmas.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions has always been attending the candlelight service with our entire extended family. There are so many beautiful, tender, and funny moments that I pray I remember always. There was the year I had to take one of my girls at age three, out kicking and screaming. She is now a wonderfully behaved adult. There was the last Christmas Eve I had with my mother. The Alzheimer’s had ravaged her recollection of memories and cognitive skills she needed to participate in the service. We all sat around her with tears rolling down our faces as the love of her life helped ground her lost thoughts. Then there was the Christmas Eve when my at that time… 15 year old daughter, accidentally set the hair of her cousin on fire during the final minutes of the service. Through it all, there was never any question where we would be on Christmas Eve.
This year, we have ordered the Christmas Eve kit from Cokesbury and we will all be gathered via zoom. We have family stationed overseas, family quarantined, and family recovering from surgeries. So for 2020, from Japan to Asheville and everywhere in between, we will come together in this new way for the same purpose. We will read the Christmas story, we will sing carols, we will light candles wherever we are, and we will give thanks for what this night means for our lives and for our world. I pray that no matter where you are this Christmas, the hope a tiny baby brought to this world, consumes your soul! I pray the life he gave for each of us, reminds us that we have work to do here and now. Be open to where Christ leads you in 2021.
The new year offers many opportunities to grow closer to Christ. As we try to show a weary world what following a risen savior looks like in action, we can learn new ways of working together for his glory. In January, please check the conference website for many growth opportunities! Training for all leaders within your church families, specialized pathway trainings for those with specific interests or gifts, and a new opportunity for laity to join with the clergy of the Sound District for a weekly learning community. Learning and growing TOGETHER can be a powerful thing for everyone!
You are invited to join me (PLEASE join me… I don’t want to be the only laity with all clergy, lol) to join weekly Zoom meetings using Michael Frost’s book , Surprise the World. The dates will be Jan 5th, Jan 11th, Jan 19th, and Jan 25th with two different time options each day… one at 10 am and another at 7 pm. Please watch the Sound District Facebook page and the Sound District Newsletter for details. Go ahead and order your book (it’s less than $5) and mark your calendar now.
Surprising the world is a great topic for a new year! You may even surprise yourself as you step out with faith in new ways.
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
If you would like to view past editions of A Message from Kim, follow this link: https://sounddistrictnc.org/category/from-district-lay-leader/
If you would like to connect with Kim please do so through her email, email@example.com