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We’ve only just begun…

When you receive this you will still be in a state of anticipating Christmas. You may be looking forward to it with some apprehension, wondering what a pandemic Christmas will look and feel like. You may be actually feeling some relief as it dawns on you that any obligation to be cooking and cleaning and wrapping around the clock has been lifted off your shoulders. Some of my introverted friends tell me with glee that they’ve been preparing for this quiet time their whole lives. On the other hand, as Bob and I were preparing our grocery list by going through favourite Christmas recipes I suddenly realized that I won’t need to make the family favourite Apple Sausage Cornbread brunch item because…there is to be no brunch. Ridiculously this threw me more than any other moment of coming to terms with the pandemic. It’s funny how we are attached to some things and can let others go without a backward glance. 
When you receive this you will still be in a state of anticipating Christmas,.. but we, your ministry team, have already prepared worship for Dec. 27. The Bible story for this coming Sunday is one of my favourites; the story of two elderly people who have lived in a different state of anticipation their whole lives long. Anna and Simeon have lived waiting for and expecting to see God’s promise fulfilled. For many decades they have been hanging out at the Temple and keeping their eyes peeled for the Messiah. When they meet the baby Jesus as he is presented at the Temple for his dedication to God, the two realize that they have finally, FINALLY, met the Messiah they have been waiting for. Simeon breaks into song, singing that, not to put too fine a point on it, he can now die happy. 
What a moment for all of us. To realize, even in the midst of such an apprehensive time, that God is with us, God is also in the midst of it all, and we can trust that all will be well. We can drop our shoulders, unclench our jaws, and breathe in deeply the peace of Christ that is God’s gift to us at this time. That indeed is a Christmas miracle. 
And now I’m going to make Apple Sausage Cornbread because I can’t not. 
Merry Christmas, and many blessings in the coming days. 

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