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The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Luke 2:10

 The Advent/Christmas season felt different this year. Lots of our family traditions have changed in Arizona, and the kids are all grown up. We have an artificial tree instead of going on a family adventure to cut our own followed by hot chocolate and decorating to Nat King Cole in the background. But this year we flew solo, decorating less than usual accompanied by country Christmas music and special eggnog. We did made some new traditions, but I felt nostalgic. 

Many people are experiencing a different kind of Christmas this year. Folks have moved away and started new, folks have lost loved ones, and some have new routines. It’s not easy, but we can create new traditions while honoring the past. Advent worship helped reframe this time and make some new traditions while keeping some old ones.

This little old desk tree I’ve had for many years made me smile when I pulled it out of the drawer this year and reminded me of people from long ago who had touched my life in special ways.  I’m trying to focus on gratitude for the present and leaning into faith by appreciating friends and strangers who help us feel the gifts of the season. It reminds that we really need to be there for each other, especially in times like these, and I give thanks for the ways our community supports each other and those in need in beautiful ways. 

It is my hope and prayer that in the midst of changes in your life that you find a way to feel the joy of the Christ child in your heart this Christmas. Do not be afraid to receive the Hope, Peace, and Love of Christmas through the people in your life who love you. And may you be blessed by new traditions. 

Merry Christmas, Pastor Andrea