Good evening everyone!
Ruth Carter Stapleton describes Christmas like this: “Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” This year, that includes just about everyone. In that spirit, I am deeply grateful to all of you who gave so generously to this year’s Giving Tree program. 110 kids will wake up on Christmas with gifts to unwrap because of your generosity. The gifts will be appreciated for sure, but the real miracle is the affirmation of love, faith, and community which you have given through those gifts. Bless you! Thank you also to George Matthews and all who took shifts (at risk to yourselves), ringing the bell for the Salvation Army outreach program.
I also want to thank all who participated in our 2020 ‘telling of the Christmas Story’ through five tableaus staged for a live, drive-thru nativity. About forty vehicles savored the story which included narration and carols broadcast on 88.3 fm. Visit our website at www.auburnmethodist.org to see pictures and footage of the event. Donations of $300+ were collected for the Trinity Jubilee Center Meals Program. Also, if you haven’t seen them yet, UMC of Auburn has a Christmas Concert on the website available for viewing, and Mitch Thomas’ annual Christmas concert is available for viewing on his social media platforms. The New England Conference of the UMC has a Lessons & Carols service available for viewing on the Conference website.
Tomorrow night (Christmas Eve), there will be two services (NEITHER WILL BE IN PERSON, THOUGH): 5 pm Family Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and 9 pm Lessons & Carols Zoom Service. I have attached to my weekly greeting email the Worship Guide for the 5 pm service, along with last Sunday’s message and an update to our Mission Opportunities. I have also attached a Worship Guide for Sunday’s 10 am service (12/27). The 5 pm Christmas Eve service and subsequent Sunday 10 am services will be livestreamed from the sanctuary on the church facebook page, You Tube, and the UMCA website. They will also be broadcast on 88.3 fm to the UMCA parking lot for those who do not have internet access and wish to listen from their car(s). Len Lednum has offered to create dvds of worship services if there are those who wish access in that manner.
Beginning 1/3/21, there will also be a Sunday weekly 8:30 am service on zoom for any who wish to participate. Following the zoom service, participants will be encouraged to linger for an online coffee fellowship chat time. I will send the 9 pm Zoom Christmas Eve Worship Guide to you with the zoom invitation link later this evening.
Jude and I are deeply grateful to all of you who have given cards, gifts, and goodies for Christmas. Bless you! I will be on vacation from 12/25 through 1/1/21, although I will be leading the Sunday (10 am) service on 12/27 and will be available for pastoral emergencies. Our beloved Westie, Salty, passed away last night so please hold us in prayer, as we do you.
As a hearty Skowhegan parishioner used to remind me, “As the cold gets stronger, the days get longer.” For now, the winter feels deep, and perhaps, bleak, but Christmas joy rings of peace on earth, goodwill to all. The light will return, and with it the thaw of spring, and eventually, an eclipse of COVID. Until then, I resonate with Cousin Frost, “the woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
Merry Christmas All,
Pastor Steve Bascom