21 December 2023
As the final days of Advent draw to a close, we find ourselves on the cusp of a joyous celebration—the lighting of the candle of Love and the celebration of the birth of the baby who embodies love itself. The Advent Christian season is a special time of preparation, a threshold between what is and what will be—a time pregnant with promise and alive with hope for the future.
In the congregation where I worship, we’ve embarked on a profound Advent journey centred around the theme “Don’t be Afraid.” We’ve delved into the myriad ways these words echo through the scriptures and were spoken to individuals in moments of fear and uncertainty. That phrase appears in Scripture some 365 times. I wonder how reassuring those words might have been for those who first received them… I know that when I’m really afraid, having someone tell me not to be doesn’t help matters!
Our church finds itself at a significant juncture that itself is an Advent time; we are living into a new and emerging reality that requires us to faithfully navigate through change—facing budgetary challenges, grappling with structural adjustments, and contending with the realities of aging congregations. Amidst this flux, it’s easy to be consumed by apprehension and worry for the future. Yet, I am reminded that always when the words, “Don’t be Afraid,” are uttered in scripture, they come with the assurance that God is with us and will never abandon us.
The essence of this season that we make time for year after year, calls us to embrace audacious, enduring hope—to shed fear and apprehension and to trust in the divine promise of an exciting future. It’s a time to collectively step forward in faith, recognizing that the future of our church rests securely in God’s hands. Let us stand together, bolstered by faith and united in purpose, as we venture forth into the future.
May this season of Advent instill in us the courage to face the unknown and the unwavering belief that our path is guided by a greater, loving presence, and wishing each of you a blessed and joyous Christmas season!
Please note that the Regional office will be closed starting tomorrow, Friday December 22, 2023, and reopening on Tuesday January 2, 2024. This brief pause allows us to recharge, reflect, and return with renewed vigor, optimism, and readiness for our work in, and as, church alive in the world.
Advent and Christmas Blessings,
Executive Minister, Pacific Mountain Regional Council
~ from an email sent December 21, 2023