With the joy of God in our hearts, we are leaning into these final days to prepare for Christmas. Not with a superficial joy based on the circumstances of our days. Because, let’s face it, there are so many circumstances that are difficult, uneasy, frustrating and tragic. Many of us won’t get to “be with” our relatives for Christmas. Some of us may be unable to provide the gifts we would have liked. Some of us won’t be able to put a feast on the table. Some will be lying alone and frightened in a COVID unit at the hospital. Some will be grieving the loss of loved ones. Let’s face it, this Christmas is short on circumstantial joy.
But joy from God is deeper. It is not based on our circumstances, but on the truth of Christmas. God has come among us, Emmanuel. Christmas means that we are never alone, even when we are lonely. Christmas means that we are forever filled up by the love of God. Christmas means that we are rich because of our identity as beloved children of God. Christmas means that, even in our grief and loss and tragedy, God is at work creating all things for good (Romans 8:28).
You can spread that deep joy this Christmas. Here are some ways you can do that:
You are invited (along with your relatives and friends) to join us for worship on Christmas Eve. Use this link to join our Christmas Eve worship, combining live and prerecorded segments, ending with holy communion. You can view a recorded Christmas Eve worship featuring “The A B Cs of Christmas” as shared by children from Eden Prairie UMC, on the home page of this website beginning Dec. 24.
By the way, we want to make Christmas Candles available to you for your at-home worship time, especially if you want to join us for the live Zoom Christmas Eve Worship Service at 7 p.m. You can come to the church, enter by the front doors (masks on, please) and gather from the table as many candles as you and your family need for Christmas Eve worship. Feel free to take some to share with your neighbors or loved ones, too. The candles will be available 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 21-23.
You can spread that deep Christmas joy by being a part of the Christmas Offering at Eden Prairie UMC. The offering will be shared between PROP’s COVID Relief Fund and the Solidarity Fund at New City Church. You will have deep joy in being able to make a difference in our neighbor’s lives. You can learn more about the offering here. Your gifts can be mailed or given electronically through the website or the Give Plus+ App. Choose “Christmas Offering."
You can spread that deep Christmas joy by being a part of the MN United Methodist movement called “Go Light the World.” a campaign to bring the light of hope, peace, joy, and love to our communities and the world by offering encouraging cards and greetings to health care workers in these challenging weeks and month. Learn more here (https://www.minnesotaumc.org/golightyourworld).
Join us for worship this weekend as we focus on the peace that Jesus’ coming gives us, a peace that we share as we work for justice in our society.
Blessings to you,
Pastor Becky Jo Messenbrink