Catie Oates-Hill
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Dawna's Christmas Letter

I will light candles this Christmas,

Candles of joy, despite all sadness,

Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.

Candles of courage where fear is ever present,

Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,

Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.

Candles of love to inspire all my living,

Candles that will burn all the year long.

Howard Thurman

Beloved in Christ,

As Christmas Eve comes alongside us, I send warm greetings and deep peace to each of you and those you love. This year has been a strange and wondrous time. We have adapted, lamented, laughed, cried, picked ourselves up and carried on, as the people of God have always done. Our faith has taken on new meaning as we have navigated an uncharted virus and found ways to sing the songs of our ancestors in a strange land.

What a blessing the outdoor worship space has been! Not only practically speaking, but also creatively – the opportunities to fashion liturgies for our COVID realities has been fun, in a year when fun isn’t the first word that comes to mind. I am so grateful to all those who have helped make it work – to the parish council, our staff, our choir, the altar guild, the many readers, prayers, watchers and tidiers of our space. Thank you for the ways you continue to carry the Christ light in your daily lives, for easing burdens, holding each other and the church in prayer, for working through irritability and loneliness and continuing to hold onto hope.

I miss you all. I miss seeing your faces, your smiles, hearing your stories, and sharing the energy that is God’s love among us. With you, I pray for the vaccine to be effective, to be administered smoothly and well, to the most vulnerable among us, and then to each of us, so that we can safely gather and rejoice together. Until then, we will continue to film our worship and give thanks for the ways that the Spirit helps draw us together when we must be apart and for the ways we have learned anew to be sacrament to one another.

Continue holding the Christ light for one another, and watch for that light out your windows, in the reflection on the pavement and in the mirror, in your worship and in your waiting.

Much love to each of you,