From the Pastor’s Keyboard

Dear Sierra Pines Family,

Here we are in an Advent /Christmas Season unlike any we have known before.  I think we may be feeling like we have stepped into a very different world.  With no parties, no family gatherings, no crowded store shopping, no holiday travel, and no in-person church.  For me growing up Christmas was about family gatherings.  In fact the year my daughter was born we did 8 family gatherings/ Christmas parties in 2 weeks and decided something had to change with a baby.  It is ok to change the Christmas traditions sometimes, even if not by choice. I was really glad we did decide to make a change, because 4 years later I started preaching on Christmas Eve every year and 6 years later we moved to a church 10.5 hours away from the family (usually more in winter with 8 hours of that snow covered mountain roads).  This Christmas we all have the opportunity to change some traditions for good so that they better fit our needs. For others of us, we might find some comfort in knowing that this too shall pass.

As we prepare this Advent for a very different Christmas I’m reminded in this time of the book by C.S. Lewis  “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”.  In the story set during World War II in England the 4 children Lucy, Edmond, Susan, and Peter have been sent out of the city to live in the country with an odd old professor.  They are playing a game when one of them enters a wardrobe to hide and discovers a strange world that they all eventually visit.  The author tells us, in the strange new world that the children have entered through this magical wardrobe called Narnia, it is “always winter but never Christmas”.  Yet through their presence Christmas begins to come to the land and spring soon follows with the arrival of the King.  Sometimes it is the hope, the joy, the love, and the peace we bring to a strange world that makes all the difference. Our presence may be felt differently this year, but we will still have a presence with our loved ones.

This year a lot of us will be celebrating at home. Mailing greeting, using social media to wish other a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.   I encourage us to be inclusive in the images we choose this year in our greetings.  Have you ever noticed that we have a habit in the US of using images of the nativity that depict a light skinned, blue eyed baby in the manger?  I think this began in Europe as a desire for a Jesus who looked like the people that the church was trying to reach.  Yet today our world of Christianity is much more diverse.  I encourage you to look for the less common images of the nativity this Christmas, from all over the world, as we stive to expand the welcome of Christ’s table to all living in a winter world this year.  Let us be a people who bring Christmas hope, love, joy, and peace to all. May the light of Christmas shine through you this year.

May the Peace of God be with you all,  

Pastor Suzanne Calhoun