Dear friends in Christ,
I hope all of you are doing well as we approach Christmas. I have a few announcements to share:
Christmas Eve Services in Person or Online
- 5pm: Children’s story, choir, carols, and candlelight
- 11pm: Communion, carols, candlelight, and music sung by Anna K and Audrey F.
We’ve been following the news of the rise in COVID cases in our state and around the country, and our church leadership has decided to continue offering in person worship. Our Christmas Eve services were planned with some adjustments for COVID risk mitigation already (e.g. we’re singing fewer carols, choir at only one service and doing fewer pieces, and masks for everyone.) Our church staff is fully vaccinated, and all of us have gotten our boosters. If being in person isn’t the right choice for you or your loved ones, we have our services streamed to YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/middleburycongregationalchurch
But, in light of the concerning public health developments we are doing the following:
- Coffee Hour is suspended for the time being.
- Like this past Sunday, windows will be partially open in the sanctuary during all services to increase ventilation.
- We encourage everyone to utilize the available space in the sanctuary to spread out. The balcony will be open for all services.
- We are continuing to wear masks for all worship services.
I know I’m feeling weary of the pandemic, and I certainly had hoped that we’d not have another Christmas colored by COVID. But, unlike last Christmas, we do have a widely available, safe, and effective vaccine, and I know the vaccination rate in our church is high. I encourage everyone to be careful, get vaccinated/boosted, and we will make it through this dark winter, just like we made it through the last one. Christmas is all about the light shining in the darkness and the darkness not overcoming it. We will continue to share any updates we have as we continue to monitor the situation.
I want to thank our Christian Education Coordinator, Valerie B, our volunteers, actors, and musicians for offering a wonderful Christmas Pageant this past Sunday. I’ve attached some photos Valerie took during the pageant.
Thank you to everyone who donated gifts for the Star Tree and for the Christmas Baskets for Middlebury families. Usually, each year there are some items left over that the Mission Board donates, but this year pretty much everything was covered by all of you. Thank you.
I look forward to seeing many of you on Friday and on Sunday as we celebrate Christ’s birth and the miracle that our God came to dwell among us. In preparing the Christmas Eve sermon, I found this quote from St. Augustine, which didn’t end up making it into the sermon, but I think he manages to capture in words some of the mystery and miracle of Christmas:
“God so loved us that for our sakes he,
through whom time was made, was made in time;
older by eternity than the world itself,
he became younger in age than many of his servants in the world;
God, who made man, was made man;
he was given existence by a mother
whom he brought into existence;
he was carried in hands which he formed;
he was nursed at breasts which he filled;
he cried like a baby in the manger in speechless infancy—
without which human eloquence is speechless.”