In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2: 1-7
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. We’ll gather in our parking lot, and around our computers, to connect and hear good news. We’ll remember the story, told so powerfully in Luke 2. Lest we forget, the original story was set in dark and troubled times. Joseph and Mary were forced to travel to Bethlehem not just to be counted, but to be taxed. The shepherds, who first heard the news, were outcasts from their community, cut off from family and alone with the sheep. Those who first lived the Christmas story know pain, suffering, and uncertainty. And they like us heard God’s answer. In the babe born, in the angels’ song, in the shepherds joy, God sang to a dark and weary world, Do not be afraid, I am with you. This is the promise of Christmas, Emmanuel, God is with us, whatever we face.
Join in our parking lot, tomorrow, 5pm December 24. Please register here or email, text, or call me directly 774.994.3645. All will remain in their cars for a brief worship, where we’ll hear the Christmas Story, share communion and of course, Silent Night. We’ll have glow sticks rather than candles, so feel free to bring an l.e.d candle from home if you prefer for the lighting of the candles.
Then at 7pm we’ll premiere our worship on Facebook, with more carols and the very same Christmas Story. Be sure to have candles on hand for the singing of silent night and the lighting of the candles.
As United Methodists we promise to support the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Here are some ways you can live into those promises, this week:
Please pray for all who are hospitalized, in care-facilities, isolated or quarantined from friends and family. May God surround them with peace and comfort, and remind them they are not alone.
|Thursday, December 24|
|5pm Christmas Eve Worship—In the parking lot
**Please register here
|7pm Christmas Eve Virtual Worship, Facebook Premiere
Available all day on YouTube
|Friday, December 25
|Sunday, December 27|
|We will not gather in our parking lot, nor will we offer virtual worship on-line.
We encourage you to check out one of the gifts of another church. Recommendations below.
December 27 and January 3, we encourage you to explore other Churches offering Virtual Worship
- Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS One of, if not the, largest United Methodist Churches in the US, they have been offering digital content for over a decade. Pastor: Adam Hamilton
- Floris UMC, Herndon, Va –A large and vibrant church offering a wide variety of life changing ministries, including work with our friends in Sierra Leone Pastor: Tom Berlin
- Haven UMC, Providence, RI –Small urban church in our district. Pastor: Juhee Lee. You have seen her playing the violin in our virtual worship.
- Union, Boston, MA Urban, very diverse congregation in our Conference. Pastor: Jay Williams
- And outside the UMC family: Middle Church, East Village, NY, NY (Urban, very diverse church. Their church building recently burned. The way they are modeling rising in the midst of pain and suffering is prophetic and inspirational. Pastor: Jacqui Lewis)
Don’t forget to tell us about it. Let any member of our COVID-10 Leadership Task Force know what you experienced in these churches or others that you know or discover. Let’s learn from what others are doing well.
Check out our online giving portal to support our Alternative giving, make your Christmas offering, or set up your monthly or weekly pledge.
Service and Witness
It’s not too late to decorate the Mitten Tree: Add beauty to the church grounds in this holy season and a gift of warmth for our neighbors. Stop by and decorate the blue spruce at the church with mittens and gloves, for men, women, and children. After Christmas they will be delivered to those that need them.