For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

–Isaiah 9:6 (New King James Version)

I can’t read this line of scripture without hearing the accompanying music from Handel’s Messiah! What a great gift of the season – the music, but most especially the Child!

In this challenging Advent/Christmas season, I want to thank all of our local churches for their faithful work to make sure that this good news is still heard in our communities. It hasn’t been easy. You’ve had to rethink everything we thought we knew about church. Your pastors have been working extremely hard to re-invent worship, mission, and ministry for a masked, distanced and sanitized world. Your leadership has had to become epidemiologists, ventilation and sanitation specialists overnight. The virus may be totally out of our control, and we don’t know when it will be tamed, but we do know God has been with us throughout these times. We grieve the many losses of people, healing in-person rituals, and fellowship done without the possibility of physical gathering. We celebrate the constancy of our God, the faithfulness of our God – and the reminder of the birth of Jesus, freshly celebrated each and every year, pandemic or not.

May God bless you this season with all the reminders of Christ’s love and grace for us all!