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Chuck's musings

Christmas Greetings and Additional Thoughts

12/17/2020

Dear families and friends of Byers Avenue and Bethel United Methodist Churches,

Greetings to you in the name of our Savior Jesus! He is Immanuel, God with us, gift-wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger. It is because of him that we can experience a joyous Christmas despite the difficulties of this year.

I want to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts with you. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Like pastors everywhere, I’ve never dealt with a pandemic before. I invite your grace in my leadership.

As you are likely aware, we recently suspended in-person worship at Byers Avenue and Bethel, including our Christmas Eve services. This, personally, was a very difficult decision, one that I wrestled with a lot. I and my family are mourning the loss right alongside of so many of you. In the end, I decided that it was best for our churches to follow the recommendation of our Missouri Conference Bishop, guidance from local authorities, and others in suspending in-person worship for the time being.

Obviously, this is not a forever decision. We will be back for in-person worship at some time in the not-too-distant future. Still, I know that Christmas Eve is such a special occasion. Therefore, for those of you who decide to attend a church that is having in-person worship on Christmas Eve, please know that you have my blessing. I would simply encourage you to be safe.

Ironically, however, our faith can still grow and even flourish during difficult times like instances when we cannot worship together. Now is the time, perhaps more than ever, to be increasingly intentional concerning our faith disciplines and practices. Take time to be in God’s Word, pray, journal, give generously, find a place to serve – the list goes on and on. Please do not use the cancellation of a service as an excuse not to celebrate, to worship, and to grow in faith.

Even in dark times, the light of Christ still shines. To me, that’s what Christmas is all about, that when everything seemed destined for failure, Jesus came.

Great things are still happening and will continue to happen through our churches.

Thank you for listening. Have an amazing Christmas! It’s great serving as your pastor!

Pastor Chuck