A community church in North Andover, Massachusetts

Christmas

Christmas 2021

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people …”Luke 2: 8-10

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas to all. First times give us pause and make us think … like, writing this letter for the first time. More importantly, the above scripture from Luke lets us witness a really big first thing, the long awaited arrival of humanity’s savior, the Messiah, and the first announcement of Jesus’ arrival as a baby by God’s messengers to a very surprising … and surprised … group of people.

The Night the World Changed

It has been an eventful time since Sherry and I arrived in North Andover in early September. We have celebrated and mourned together, shared our joys and concerns, prepared for both a pastor’s installation service and five baptisms on the first Sunday of Advent to ring out the month of November. Now the Advent season is upon us once again and well underway. Soon we will be focusing on preparing to celebrate Jesus’ birth, and driving ourselves to distraction with every other thing we do during the Christmas season, both religious and secular. Before we get there, let’s pause and take a moment to really consider what happened that night so long ago in Bethlehem.

Christmas 2020

A year ago, who would have thought we would be where we are today? There is no question that the Covid 19 pandemic and subsequent lock-downs have changed our lives dramatically and not always for the better. I suppose we must obey the “powers that be” in these matters, but I have to admit, Advent services without singing is hard. And I am sure that everyone will have at least one uncomfortable memory of these days.

That’s the bad news, and enough of it, because Christmas is about good news.

Out Of My Mind – December 2020

As we approach the season of Advent this year, with so many unexpected and terribly disrupted events, it might be good for us to think back 2000 years to that first Christmas, when Jesus was born. With all our political turmoil (as I write this mid-November, the election is still in the courts) and unanswered questions about the virus, maybe some perspective could help, I hope.