e-letter 12/14/18

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!” 
This is one of my favorite quotes from the movie Elf. Starring Will Ferrell, it is a slightly inappropriate, secular and cheeky take on Christmas and all of the baggage that Americans have around the holiday. Buddy the Elf does not have such baggage. He believes in the Christmas spirit because he was raised at the North Pole. The movie follows his quest into the world of our secular worries about Christmas to find his human parents, and ends with Buddy inspiring his community to believe in Santa and the miracles of Christmas again. The movie is heartwarming, hilarious, and a highly quotable favorite for so many.
Buddy has no qualms about believing in Santa and relishing in the joy of Christmas candy, songs, and merriment. But the rest of us certainly do- watching our waistlines and worrying endlessly about our gifts, holiday obligations, and the perfect Christmas photo. We get so caught up in the pressures of our secular holiday that we forget to enjoy the peace and pause of the season of Advent. The stress of the season makes Christmas a burden instead of the celebration of the light of Christ that it is meant to be.     This past week we honored the less-than-joyful feelings that so many of us deal with at Christmastime through our Blue Christmas service. It was beautiful and honest. It helped me remember that I am not alone when I feel blue around Christmas. While we will light the candle of joy this Sunday on our Advent wreath, Christmas is not always joyful for so many of us. The pressure and rush of the season often ignores pain that comes along with grief at the holidays- grief that so many of you endure all year round. I was grateful that we carved out this space of alternative worship to be real about where each of us might be emotionally during this Advent and Christmas season.    
This weekend we’ll engage in some other creative acts of worship. We’ll celebrate the coming of Jesus by singing loudly for all to hear in our Christmas Cantata at our 9:30 and 11am Traditional Services. Remember, no 8am service! We’ll also celebrate by cheering on our children in their rendition of Jingle Bell Beach at the 9:30 Gathering Service. It will be a unique and joyful morning! I hope that wherever you are this holiday season, you’ll be able to pause and enjoy these wonderful offerings of worship. If you cannot sing joyfully for all to hear, I hope the light and merriment of this Sunday will draw you in and remind you of the joy of Christ.    
See you Sunday,  
Pastor Allee