I am looking forward, as I imagine you are, to leaving 2020 behind and welcoming in a better 2021!

Dear Congregation,

As I write this on New Year’s Eve day, I am looking forward, as I imagine you are, to leaving 2020 behind and welcoming in a better 2021. We have certainly been though a lot, as individuals and as a church, this past year because of the Covid-19 pandemic! The good news it that we’ve made it through the year with all its challenges and can look forward to receiving the vaccine, and, hopefully, to living a more normal life. We certainly have come to value relationships, and activities that we may have taken for granted pre-COVID-19. I think many of us also have come to realize how important our faith and trust in God has been, holding us up through this dark and anxious time.

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, when I was a girl, our family would go outside into the Ohio December cold. Standing together on our front porch, we’d bang on pots and pans with spoons and spatulas, making as much noise as possible, while yelling “Happy New Year!”  I learned later that this activity came from a German custom and was meant to ward away evil spirits in the new year. I did the same thing with my children when they were younger, continuing the tradition.

I am tempted to bang on some pots and pans tonight, although the neighbors in my condo building would no doubt be surprised! Symbolically, I think it might feel good to do my part to scare away any evil from 2021! Oh, if only it worked like that!

I do think there is something about a fresh new year that is hopeful and can inspire us to make positive changes. In that spirit, in Sunday’s Garden Chapel worship, you’ll be given the opportunity to take a star. On each star is a word. You’ll be invited to trust the Star Word that selects you, thinking about what significance it might have for your life. 

You might want to hang it on your refrigerator or bulletin board, use it as a marker in your Bible, or put it in a place where you’ll see it occasionally. As the year goes by, perhaps the meaning of the word will change for you. You might want to reflect upon it by journaling. If you really don’t care for your word, you may choose another. (Those of you watching on Facebook can request me to select a star for you which will be mailed to you.)

The premise is this: the magi followed the star to find baby Jesus, bringing their gifts. We are also seeking Jesus, trusting God can/does use many signs (or stars) to guide us closer to the Divine presence. 

Epiphany is January 6th, next Wednesday. We’ll be focusing on worship this Sunday on the story of the wise men following the star to find the baby Jesus. Matthew 2:1-12. I hope you’ll be present with me in worship in-person or on Facebook. ( Notice the stars on my ministerial stole in my picture.)

I wish for each of you a happy and healthy new year as we enter it together with confidence in God’s goodness, in Christ’s love, and in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit!

God Bless You,

Pastor Candy

click here for this week's bulletin