Our celebration last Sunday of Rick and Celeste Hamilton’s ministry at FPC was a glorious one—the weather behaved,
the food was fabulous (and abundant), the love in the air was tangible. We can
give a heartfelt thanks to Rick and Celeste for all they have given us over the
decades, and to many people who made the party a beautiful celebration of the
family of God.
The party was
also a great way to finish our season of outside worship… and now it’s time to head
Worshipers who have not been with us before during Advent may be
surprised at how absolutely beautiful our historic sanctuary looks, decorated
in a traditional Williamsburg style—lots of greenery and candles that go
wonderfully with our dark beams and wooden pews. It is a joyful and worshipful
place to be as we await the birthday celebration of Jesus.
This year, with
all the isolation and anxiety of the pandemic, many people have put up their
personal Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, perhaps hoping for a little
more cheer as we face life with so much pandemic stress. Stores always have
their holiday look early, but this year it didn’t seem such a
sacrilege—most of us need all the encouragement to be cheerful that we can get!
But it’s time for a
reality check! Our joy—real joy—doesn’t come from any decorations or fabulous
dinners or family get- togethers, no matter how much we take delight in them.
We celebrate the birth of a king—THE KING of KINGS—and the joy of that truth
far exceeds any other.
A month from
now, as we prepare for our family Christmas celebrations, we might be asked
again to alter our plans for the sake of our community and our own safety. With
the pandemic raging, it’s not out of the question that we will
be asked to again make some sacrifice. Perhaps this is a time to rethink our
usual plans and strive to make them a little more God-honoring than the usual
lights and tinsel and overeating. Maybe this is a year to start a family
tradition that involves more giving—to people who are genuinely in need—and
For years we’ve been
encouraged to ask the question “What would
Jesus do?” when we face a decision. Here’s a challenge:
How would Jesus like us to celebrate his birthday? How would he like us to
honor him as we remember his birth in this time when so many are suffering?
We can enjoy the beauty—and warmth--of our sanctuary this Advent, and
perhaps together we can reflect in a deeper way about the very best ways
to honor our Savior, especially in the midst of a pandemic.