Good afternoon, Mt. Carmel family! Can you believe that in just one week, we will be celebrating Christmas Day? While the Christmas decorations go up earlier and earlier each year, it still seems like the day manages to sneak up on us.
I realize that for many of you Christmas Day will look very different this year—and my heart hurts for those of you who will not be able to enjoy your normal Christmas and family activities. However, the wonderful message of Christmas remains the same: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Jesus came to bring hope, peace, and joy to the world!
I wanted to share with you our plans for the rest of 2020 as a church. As most of you know, over the past three weeks, we have seen a lot of families in our church affected by the COVID-19 virus. Our last Sunday together in church was November 29, and we have been online-only the first two weeks of December because of the many who either have been ill or have been caring for those who are ill. I am so grateful to those who have contributed to make our virtual services possible—and for those who have joined us online.
This Sunday, December 20, we will be providing both online and in-person services at 11:00 a.m. While there was much prayer and concern shared by our church leadership, we decided to leave the burden of responsibility of whether or not to gather in the hands of each family. Let me share with you some very important thoughts and considerations shared by our leadership.
Please understand that this is not an attempt to coax anyone into attending on Sunday—nor should any pressure, weight, or guilt be felt about choosing not to attend. Rather, wherever you are on Sunday morning, we invite you to join us as we look again at the Christmas story at the subject, “I’m Not the King.”
Because a low in-person attendance is expected, only one morning worship service (11 a.m.) will be held this Sunday, December 20. We will pray together, we will sing together, and we will rejoice in the coming of Jesus together. And we are confident that the same Spirit of God who directed the angels to proclaim the good news to the shepherds on the hillside of Bethlehem will fill our hearts with joy wherever we are—and no matter who we are with!
I know that much in 2020 has been different, but we can take heart that even more remains the same. We are—and always will be—cherished, accepted, wanted, protected, provided, and embraced in the loving arms of our faithful, never-changing God! And the timeless truth of the Good News of the Gospel continues to be—and always will be—that Jesus Christ exchanged His perfection for our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), bore the punishment for our sins (Romans 5:8), and provides a way to the Father (Ephesians 2:13).
Christmas may look different to us this year—but it remains the same for our great God! Have a wonderfully blessed day!
Here are a few more important details to note: