You All Made a Difference this Christmas
If you’re anything like me, you were pretty tired this last week. The holidays take a lot out of you. (I made it through my first Christmas at Cross of Glory primarily on adrenaline — and a lot of grace. I didn’t actually realize how tired I was until I sat down over the New Year’s weekend and pretty much didn’t get up. Instead, I binge-watched multiple seasons of Downtown Abbey over a few days.)
And when I looked back on all the joy-filled and life-giving things we did as a congregation during this last month, I realize how blessed I am to be here (and why I might have been a bit tired). Here are a couple of highlights:
- We started the month with a terrific Visit with Santa event at which over 30 COG volunteers helped about 150 neighbors from the community play Christmas games, make Christmas crafts, and visit with Santa (and they all got a free picture memorializing their Santa visit).
- During December, we read (and/or shared with friends and family) over 6o advent devotional books
- Some of us gathered to watch Christmas movies on the four Mondays before Christmas
- We visited some of our Cross of Glory neighbors to do a little caroling.
- The Dashboard Saints, and a lot of the rest of us, braved really cold temperatures to come out and enjoy some Christmas songs with old and new friends.
- Under the direction of our wonderful Kids Klub volunteers, the children (and some young adults) put on a terrific play telling the Christmas story.
- We made the Christmas wishes of over 100 kids from the community come true through our angel giving tree.
- We held a Blue Christmas service for those who were struggling during this holiday time.
- We gathered on three Wednesdays for meals and some fun Christmas fellowship;
- The Welcome Place Preschool put on two Christmas programs all about the ABC’s of Christmas and had Christmas parties for each class
- We made a difference to lots of people we don’t know, by contributing almost $600 to the ELCA Good Gifts program through a combination of December’s noisy offering and the purchase of Good Gift ornaments.
- We brought lots of our friends and families to worship and celebrate Christmas Eve during our three services (and I must say that the service in Konow’s barn was simply the coolest Christmas Eve service I have ever been to!)
- We then turned around and showed up again for Christmas morning worship as we continued to celebrate the birth of our Lord.
And of course, none of this could have happened without the efforts of so many of you. Helping all those worship services run smoothly (well, as smoothly as anything runs here at COG), making sure everything was transported to and from the barn, planning and playing all the music, overseeing the fellowship and food, organizing the community events and the angel tree gifts, putting on the kids’ Christmas plays and programs – pretty much all of you were involved in at least some part of making sure things happened around here.
But the truly amazing thing is that this list is only a little piece of all that you did last month to make the lives of those around you better and live as God’s church in our world. I haven’t even mentioned all the gifts you bought, all the money you donated, all the time you spent helping others, all the kind words you shared, and the myriad of other ways (most of which I don’t even know about) in which you blessed and freed and healed people each and every day during this Advent/Christmas season. Because as we all know, being church certainly has something to do with what we do here at COG, but it has so much more to do with who you are each and every day as you go about your daily lives. That’s where God is constantly inviting us to partner with God in all the Kingdom things God is already out there doing. That’s where we live as the missional disciples God calls us to be.
And for all that, I want to thank you. God is powerfully at work in this community of faith. And as we stand at the beginning of 2017, I look forward to so much more to come.
Pastor Dana O’Brien