December 12: Christmas in 2020

Dear friends,
Christmas is coming! I know this because my children are updating me with the countdown several times a day. I also know I don’t need to tell you how different Christmas will be this year, and, in many ways, sorely disappointing — that is patently obvious. Instead, I want to share with you how clear it is to me that Christmas will still happen, and that it will be good. 
I believe that Christmas in its fullness is still coming, even in the midst of our collective grief and fear and isolation, in part because of how I understand faith to work. As I experience it, faith is not a creedal assertion of what we know to be true. Instead, I understand faith to be the active choice of where we place our trust, and the gift of where we hang our heart. Our life and our God are surrounded by such mystery that we will never fully know what is true. And still, we can decide to place our trust in this way of love.
This act of trust is what allows me to approach Christmas this year with hope and wonder. I am choosing to hang my heart on the expectation that God is still with us, and that the story of the incarnation will still transform us. I don’t think there is anything that can prevent this beauty from working in us for good: not staying apart, not refraining from breaking bread and embracing and letting our voices rise together in our favorite carols, not even sickness and death. Through it all, come what may, the story still holds.
And so, we will be doing our best to tell this story and to offer our love to this wondrous God made human as a tiny child. We will continue with the tradition of the youth of this congregation leading us, gathering on Christmas Eve at 5 pm on Facebook Live to celebrate this holy night, complete with music from our youth, a Zoom Christmas pageant, and carols to sing along with at home. Then on Christmas Day at 11 am, you are invited to join in a watch party, also on Facebook Live, of the Christmas Eucharist from Grace Cathedral. This way, we’ll be able to join together as a local community in the comments as we worship together.
No, it won’t be the same. And still, I trust that if we open ourselves to the wonder of this story, we will find God in our midst, once again. No doubt we need this more than ever.