Pastor Andrew Hinderlie
December 2020 Pastor's Pondering
II Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
We are entering the Season of Advent, a season of expectation that soon will be Christmas Eve and Christmas and then New Years Eve and then into a new year. But we've already entered that New Year for Advent begins the New Year for our churches. It is the time when we prepare for the entry of the Christ child who came into this world over two thousand years ago and whose impact is still felt to this very minute. Indeed the power of a small babe in a manger overcomes the power of the world in all it's selfishness and self-absorption.
This Advent and Christmas things will look more different than we've ever known in many of own lifetimes though no doubt those who went through WWI, The Spanish Flu, the Great Depression and WWII and the wars that followed as well as those who were and are away from their homes and families by choice or force would be able to tell us a thing or to about suffering, growing thru change, understanding and letting go of the old to accept the new that comes through these times. Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” But the new isn't always easy and just it wasn't easy for them as many pushed back against the selflessness required during those times, it will be no easier for us. Indeed the joys of family gatherings and celebrations will seem less than joyful and perhaps even depressing and we will even lament these times that have left us bereft of the very things that make this season the memorable one that is has been. And to be honest, it's okay to feel that way for you and I are not alone but it is a global time for Christians to be without those things that make this season Merry.
But maybe we can also learn from those who have suffered this loss of tradition and family in the past. To learn how to be hopeful in the midst of despair, joyful in the midst of sadness, loved in the midst of feeling forsaken. We are going to mourn this Christmas in ways we may never have before but we can chose how we will respond to that mourning and what indeed we are mourning whether it be family gatherings, church services, Christmas parties. In most cases the things we will mourn are not so much gone but put on hold. But there are things that will have more meaning and reason to mourn such as with the loss of loved ones during this past year whom we could not hold, comfort or love and those will not return and it is for them and ourselves we mourn most in this season.
For many years now I've thought about a Blue Christmas, a pre-Christmas tradition that is not celebrated but is commemorating and remembering all that we have lost and keeps us from celebrating. Perhaps this year will be a time to have Blue Christmas for all of us. On December 20th/21st I Invite you to take time to remember those you have lost/what you have lost this year that you are mourning and put those into prayer to our God who listens and responds with only the solace and comfort God can. They cannot be replaced. But what we have considered as part of this time will change and in accepting it perhaps we can regain the true meaning of Christmas, bringing back into perspective what this season is about and perhaps it will give us a new understanding what Jesus brought into the world for you and me. Perhaps it truly will bring us Peace on Earth and Good Will to all People. The wish of our family to you all is that you will receive that which you seek from our Loving God and Savior and that you have a blessed Christmas.
John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” New Living Translation.