Neill Ginter took this photo of the United Church of Colchester several years ago. Things have changed since then.
For instance, the large evergreen with the hundreds of Christmas lights is no longer there. There is a new metal roof on the sanctuary. The roof was replaced when we made major structural work to the sanctuary walls and attic. There were several inches of snow on the ground that Christmas Eve, This year it rained and on Christmas Eve and temperatures hovered near 50 degrees, Many different people have come as members and friends of our church during this time, and several folks sitting in the sanctuary when this picture was taken are no longer with us.
The year this photo was taken all of the Christmas Eve worship took place in this warmly lit sanctuary, and included many families and friends.. This year one or more members of ten families worshiped in person at 7:00 on Christmas Eve, and there were ten devices logged into the Zoom service at 6:00..
Yet, with all of these differences, on both of these Christmas Eves we worshipped the birth of the Christ child . In fact, Christians have been celebrating Christmas for over two thousand years in many different circumstances.
At Christmas, we worship in hope, peace, joy and love. Even in 2020. Yes, even in 2020, a year that has brought much darkness, fear, pain, and isolation. For what we worship at Christmas is the Light coming into the world.
Today, by living a Christmas faith, we can bring light into this dark world. With imagination, good will, and dedication, we, yes, we, can be a source of light through acts of peace, hope, joy and love. And we can receive the blessings of peace, hope, joy, and love by being open to the miracle of Christmas.
So on this blessed day, Merry Christmas!
Yours in Christ,
In the starlight
a baby murmurs
a mother whispers
a father sighs
Drawn by the starlight
wise ones ponder
Soon comes the dawn-light
the gift has been given
a new light shines bright
may your life shine with this light
[First appeared in Christmas: an anthology, The Poet - special Issue, 2020]