No place like home for the holidays
From the Pastor's Desk
December 5, 2020
For many of us, going home and being together is essential to celebrate the holidays. We crave to be with loved ones and have a sense of home and belonging. We sing about going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house, trusting that warmth, hugs and good food await. This year, it is all different. We can sing, and wish, Zoom and talk on FaceTime, but it's not the same. Our hugs, kisses and favorite home cooked meals have to wait several more months for us to gather safely. Hopefully by summer we can celebrate a Southern Hemisphere Christmas - experiencing what it is like for half of the world who always have a warm Christmas.
We can do this. We have made it this far and better days are ahead. The pandemic will end. When I'm discouraged because church services are not happening like normal and everything seems a bit harder to negotiate, I am reminded of others who have lost lives, jobs and homes. I hope as you read this that you are okay, and so is your family. I also hope that you have support and can give yourself a lot of grace for the challenges you've managed.
I hope that you can appreciate this holiday season and allow the HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE of Advent to fill you and sustain you. In some strange way, this quieter Christmas may even allow more opportunity for being with immediate family and finding the best moments in this unique time.
When troubled by our circumstances, we can reach out with Christmas spirit to local small businesses that have been hit hard during shutdowns. Shop local, if you can, this year. We can also reach out to our favorite nonprofits, many of which have not been able to have their usual fundraisers they depend on. Giving feels so good when the need is so great.
We can also travel virtually to experience the land of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, and hear from leaders of different faiths about modern struggles in the Holy Land. Jesus' parents were refugees, as are the Palestinian people, yet in Bethlehem's dark streets an everlasting light burst forth. Perhaps the words by Phillips Brooks may still hold true: "the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight." There are many Advent prayers and witness resources for Palestine at the link: https://www.fosna.org/keepawake.
May your Advent experiences be blessed. And, if you want a local live experience, Tehachapi Community Church is planning a brief outdoor Christmas Nativity pageant at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, December 13 in the church courtyard. All guests and participants are required to wear masks and practice social distancing keeping six feet apart in their family groups. We will have a real baby Jesus, hot cider and adorable shepherds.
May You Stay Healthy & Be Blessed,
Tehachapi Community Church, UCC:
No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here!
The Tehachapi Community Church, UCC is an open and welcoming community of faith that believes that each person, created in the image of God, holds a piece of the truth. Therefore we respect each person's unique spiritual journey. We invite you to experience the difference that religious freedom in a caring community can make in that journey.
We are located at 100 East E St., in Tehachapi. During the current pandemic things are a bit different. Please call us at (661) 822-4443 to confirm the plans for the upcoming Sunday. Feel free to visit us online http://www.tcccucc.org.