Rector’ Christmas Message 2020
, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).
Dear ACPC family, Christmas Greetings!
What a year it has been, and it is not even over yet! If you are like me, there are times we look back over this past year in wonder and amazement shaking our heads and saying out loud from time to time, “I never saw that coming”! Nevertheless, the year 2020 will soon be in our past, and it can’t come a moment too soon.
I know this year has been months of difficulty on so many levels for so many people. I am sensitive to the grief and loss that many of you are experiencing. Most of us have never seen anything like this. The pandemic has interrupted our lives. This has been hard for all of us.
However, these challenging times have also provided us with the opportunity to exercise our faith. We have helped and taken care of each other. Our churches have to adapt to online services. Our worship team have worked long hours to provide digital resources and ministry to all our people and community. I am extremely grateful to all for their time and generosity which is a meaningful gift to the church.
I understand it is sometimes difficult to see the good when we feel so overwhelmed by despair; but Christmas reminds us of something critical to keep in our minds, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5). My friends, there are many more reasons to be grateful and filled with hope because of our faith. God has and will continue to help us to see all of this through.
We are a Christmas people and Jesus is incarnated in every act of love and kindness we extend to one another. God can reach us beyond all the barriers the world can create and revive us by giving us strength in times of great distress. So, we can do this, and we will overcome because we are the Church, the body of the risen Christ!
I pray you can see that God is leading us into a new season of life and ministry together. We can only do this if we stay together and believe that we will celebrate many more Christmas together.
With this, I invite you to stay connected and don’t underestimate the value of your presence (online or in-person), service, prayers, witness, and giving/pledging. We need each other more than ever before. Please reach out to each other and encourage one another, particularly as we may be tempted to give up hope. Ask for help if you need it.
It has always been a privilege to be your rector/priest, and I feel incredibly blessed and honored to be with you, even through the difficult times. My prayers are with you always.
May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child.
Once again, we will encounter Jesus in the humble settings of our homes. After hearing many concerned voices and much prayer and consultation with the archdeacon, other clergy, and many of you, in person worship will be suspended into the new year. While I realize this may be a painful announcement for you to read, I cannot in good conscience have us gather for in-person worship given the dangers of Covid-19. We have to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus and protect the vulnerable among us.
Although we cannot meet in person, we will share in our Christmas worship and Sunday services online. Let us remember too that nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:38) So I invite you to make some coffee, tea, or hot cocoa and join us for Sunday and Christmas worship from the comfort of your homes. May Christ come among us in our homes as he did in the humble shelter in Jerusalem.
Christ came on earth to reveal an extraordinary message, a message of love, hope, joy and peace. Christ asks us to have love for one another, to be reconciled to one another and to accept one another. Each of us has been entrusted with a special gift, a sacred responsibility: to show others how the mystery of God is among us. We are called to go out into the world and share the message of God’s love for all mankind. My brothers and sisters, let the joy of Christmas penetrate our hearts and souls, so we may change our lives to become peacemakers, love others as we love ourselves, and love God above all things.
With gratitude for all you have been and done for ACPC. I hold you in my heart and in my prayer this Christmas season, asking God to bless you with peace, joy, hope and love.
A blessed Christmas to all,
Rev. Darlene +