Dear friends,

What a year it was; a year of census taking, a widening gap between the haves and have nots, and living in a politically divided country. Keeping faith in such a time as this can be a challenge. Yet, Mary and Joseph did keep their faith. They followed the Law of Moses, and they met their obligations as citizens under Roman rule. Obedient, expecting, disoriented, and humble, they arrived in Bethlehem and sought shelter in a stable, because it was made available to them that night.

The writer of Hebrews says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Keeping faith doesn’t mean that doubt cannot creep in, fear does not intrude, or that disappointment won’t be experienced, but faith is predominant, even in times of uncertainty. Simeon and Anna knew this. Both had lived long lives and each of them waited for God’s promise to come to fruition as they had been told. Independently they continued to search for the miracle who would assure them of God’s faithfulness as they worshiped and followed the Law. And yes, both praised God for the fulfillment of things hoped for when they saw the Christ child.

What a year it has been; a year of census taking, a widening gap between the haves and have nots, and living in a politically divided
country. Keeping faith in such a time as this can be a challenge. Yet, we too are called to be faithful. Like Simeon and Anna, we can experience God’s promise in our lives. In this Christmas season we can experience Emmanuel, God-with-us. With faith we can sing the familiar hymns, share the familiar Word, experience the light of God, and share in sacrament of Holy Communion. As people of faith, we can enter into and bring joy to the world. We can be people of praise!

This Christmas season things are different, but I hope you will share in the many offerings that St. Mark’s has technically prepared to bring you comfort and joy. There will be something for everyone. And for those who have shared your Christmas Eve offering with CCSA, thank you. As you know, CCSA feeds the hungry, offers clothes to those in need, and provides additional resources to the disoriented. Your offerings will help our neighbors in these uncertain times.

Blessings to you all in this season of joy.

In grace and peace,
Pastor Jeri
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