As we turn the last page of the calendar on this decade, it finishes with a flurry! December has been a full and rewarding month on our shared faith journey. Advent worship focused on “Simple Moments of Beauty.” With help from our new friend, Sr. Anthony, who we met in our Advent Movie, The Christmas Tree, we have become more aware of the beauty of God’s presence with us. We have been invited to awaken to that beauty and to grab hold of it for ourselves; to find the place in our hearts where God is waiting for us; to find a sense of peace.
December has also proven another lesson of Sr. Anthony. That is that when we truly find a place of peace it will lead us to serve others. The month has been busy with plenty of opportunities of service for everyone to find their own place. Folks brought gloves, scarves, hats, leggings and sweatpants for the warming tree. Others rang bells—in worship and on parking lots! The choir rehearsed and sang. The Children’s Pageant was the effort of over thirty people. Volunteers partnered with Community Service League at the Christmas Store. Special offerings raised $1,465 for Holiday Helpers, $536 for the UCC Christmas Offering and $9,530 for the St. Luke’s Christmas Offering. And what about the project the Council shared at the Christmas Eve Service? And, right now we are at $565 (and still counting) designated to address the critical issue of shelter for those on the street during dangerously cold nights. Did I miss anything? I hope not, because I want to thank and celebrate everyone and every act of service and worship that were faithfully offered by a congregation that continues to amaze me with energy, commitment and creativity.
Yet, it is Howard Thurman who tells us, “When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations to bring peace to the people, to make music in the heart.”
So, the “work of Christmas” doesn’t stop as we turn the page and enter into a new decade. It starts here! January carries us into the Season of Epiphany. It is a time when we focus on trying to recognize and follow Christ more deeply, more compassionately, more creatively as the year and decade unfolds.
As we enter the new year through the gate of Epiphany, we will be looking for the ways and places the presence and light of Christ continue to shine forth. Along the way we will discover more of who Christ is and who we are to become in the process of our following his path. We will discover, too, that when we put our hands to the ongoing “work of Christmas,” that our lives and our congregation will continue to be a shining light that will make the presence and light of Christ shine forth through our ministry.
I celebrate the year that we have had together at St. Luke’s! It is a blessing to have walked with you this year. I look forward to the year to come…and the years after that. It is with joyous anticipation and the fullest assurance of hope that I call us all to wonder “what lies out there for us next?”