Dec 18, 2020

Dear Church Family,
As a species humans value tradition. It has been said traditions bring comfort, connection and the sense of shared values. This is why some of the funniest Christmas films center around the clash of comfort, connection and shared values. Many of us share in similar activities around the holiday; gathering, food, gifts, the other details shake out more individually between families and friends. We rely on these traditions as our opportunity to create more memories or simply to bask in the presence of those we love.
Of course, this year challenges the traditions that many have always held. Many of us are not gathering with our family or friends, maybe just with a small circle of people we share breathing space with. Some of us are going solo for the first time in many years or maybe going solo is a common occurrence. The Christmas holidays are different, but they do not have to be less special or enjoyable.
Covid has grown my awareness of how I took my traditions for granted. Gathering for a meal and exchanging gifts is my norm. This year, sharing a meal by making plates and delivering to others is my way of gathering and giving. Holding thoughts of gratitude for the many people I love is my spiritual practice. Affirming the experience of Peace on Earth for others is my Christmas Prayer. 
Holiday’s can prompt additional grief to those who have a loved one who made their transition this year. In my prayers I send special light and love – I send tender thoughts and affirm grace and comfort during the holiday. 
While Covid is inconvenient most of the people I know are safe, have a warm place to lay their head at night, have enough food and medicine, their needs for survival and thriving are met. There are many in our country and world who do not have basic needs met. Most people I know are connected to loved ones. Their life matters to someone or many people. Yet, there are some who do not have these vital connections to others. Many of us have a sense of purpose – know there is a reason to be alive on this planet, in this place at this time. Not of everyone experiences that connection to their higher good. 
While the traditions of Christmas have been pushed aside for the year, we celebrate differently this year. We celebrate with gratitude for our lives and purpose, we celebrate the safety and health of our loved ones, we celebrate the relative comfort of having our needs met to thrive. We celebrate by allowing room for some nostalgia of our Christmas’ past and we allow ourselves to grieve those who have gone before us or the big changes that we are still working on accepting. This year we celebrate by remaining hopeful for the future of Christmas for everyone. 
Sending you love and holding the vision of God’s love unfolding perfectly for you this Christmas.
Merry Christmas!
Pastor Robert