December 28, 2020
Dear Kirk family,
Pastor Nate said in his Christmas Eve sermon, “One day our children are going to look back and they’re going to remember what this was like. Maybe they’ll tell the story of this Christmas to their children: When I was your age, there was a great storm that we called Covid. But it didn’t break us. No--we made it through. You should have seen the way we held on to each other. You should have seen the way we supported one another. You should have seen how everyone put in just a little more kindness, a little more thoughtfulness; you should have seen how everyone put in just a little more goodwill during that Christmas season. When I was your age, there was a storm. But that storm came to pass.”
So it came to pass on the morning of Christmas Eve, the front lawn of our church was full of animals, children and families celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus. Yes, animals! And guess what happened? The animals arrived late, the live nativity scene didn’t go as planned and some animals were getting way out of control (if you know what I mean)! But none of that mattered. From the (literal!) wild goose chase (or should we say, “the wild alpaca chase”?) of the first service at 11 a.m. to the sacred serenity of the last service at 11 p.m., the entire day was filled with incredible joy as we saw each other’s masked faces, sung Christmas carols, and passed the light. It was so evident that instead of breaking us, the storm made us into a stronger community.
At the Christmas Eve 11:00 a.m. service, members of the Junior Girls and the Treble Boys Choirs sang a choral prelude to the outdoor service, as did the Intermediate and Senior Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs at the 5:00 p.m. service. Also, harpist Patti Masri Fletcher, violinist Sonia Lee performed for the 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. services, and the Kirk choir men sang for the 11:00 p.m. service while the choir women sang for the 8:00 p.m. service.
The festivities continued into Sunday evening with a Zoom Christmas Carol Sing! Carols were sung by all, and it also included presentations by the Kirk Singers, duets by members of the Senior Girls’ Choir and Nicole Joseph and Todd Galloway, and solo presentations by Glenn Miller and Nicole Joseph!
In Pastor Nate’s last letter, he threw out a challenge: 200 toys in 4 days. “And you should have seen how everyone put in just a little more kindness, a little more thoughtfulness” to make this happen! Coleman from Micah 6 came on Christmas Eve to pick up over 200 toys to bring Christmas joy to children in his Pontiac neighborhood! Thanks to all of you for answering this call!
And “a little more kindness, a little more thoughtfulness” didn’t stop there! The Congregational Care Committee reached out with cards and cookies to Kirk members living in local senior living residencies with wishes for a merry Christmas and a healthy, happy new year!
“You should have seen the way we held on to each other. You should have seen the way we supported [Accent Pontiac]!” Tina Rowan, Executive Director of AP reported, “we were able to include homemade blankets, made by Ministry with Pontiac and other Kirk volunteers, with our AP kids as part of the gift packages we delivered for the holidays. They were thrilled! With support from the Kirk, we were also able to get an AP family's internet access back on. We are grateful for all these ways that the Kirk is supporting and showing love to our families in Pontiac!”
At the end of this week, we’ll be ringing in the new year. We can already see how the first couple months of the year will be a time of great transition as we go from one president to another and from Covid to post-Covid world as the vaccine continues to roll out. That’s why our theme for the first six weeks of 2021 is “In Between”. During the in-between times, we’re called to carry the light that we passed to one another on Christmas Eve; we’re called to grow into God’s love and journey together toward God’s goodness and peace; we’re called to recognize and care for the Christ who has been born in you and me. That’s why I hope you can join us on January 3rd for our online service as Pastor Marjorie preaches on The Magi and afterwards, Zoom in to our Annual Congregational Meeting where we will vote in our new officers, celebrate what God has done through us in 2020, and look forward to what God will continue to do through us in 2021. Join Here. Passcode: kirk (all lower case)
And don’t forget to check out our adult formation classes for the next six weeks! Here’s the description for the series: Our adult formation series for winter 2021 is “Staying Grounded in the In-between”. Transitioning from Covid to post-Covid world and from one president to another, we are living through truly disruptive and “in-between” times. During such times, how will we find our footing? What is our anchor? How will we be grounded? In January and February, we are offering classes on Old Testament, theology of rest, Romans, date nights for couples, Reformed tradition, history of Presbyterianism, biblical interpretation and archeology to help you stay grounded in your faith as well as your relationship with God and one another. I hope you will join us! Click here to register for our winter classes!
I am so incredibly proud and grateful to be part of a congregation that continues to live into stories of God’s unending hope, strength, kindness and love—stories of how it came to pass; stories our children will pass down to their children. And as we head into 2021, let us remember the words from Pastor Nate’s sermon: “Friends, on Christmas, we remember that Jesus was born. He was born to live in this world, to redeem this world, to bring peace into this world, and to stay in this world. And because he came to stay, all the storms- the storms of today, and any storm that has the mind to come tomorrow - because he came to stay, they will come to pass.” Amen.
Blessings and love,