Yes, in case you were wondering, even at Christmas:
Black Lives still Matter
Indigenous Lives still Matter
Lives of People of Colour still Matter
This afternoon, Marian and I served a 4-hour shift at the Edmonton Community of Christ to help distribute food hampers to clients of the Edmonton Food Bank. The church has served as a weekly depot for the Food Bank for many years. It is a good community service for the congregation. Today we received 32 hampers to serve 15 families. A “family” could be a single person receiving one hamper, or a family of 5 or 6 persons receiving up to four hampers. Today, all recipients were receiving with their hampers a frozen turkey or ham for their Christmas dinner. The people receiving hampers are all good people who have found themselves, usually temporarily, in need of the Food Bank services.
I had not been in the church building for at least two, maybe three, months. I was struck by how good it was to see and greet the three people we were relieving who had been at the church since mid-morning. Not just greet them, but greet them in person! (Yes, physical distancing happened. No hugs.)
There were some nice (artificial) poinsettias which had been placed in the foyer to add some Christmas colour to welcome our food bank guests. There was very pleasant instrumental Christmas music playing on the sound system. Still, it is sad to know that tomorrow evening, Christmas Eve, there will be no service here. No collective sharing of the Christmas story. No energetic community singing of favourite songs. Along with all of you, I miss the people. I miss the sound of visiting. I miss the laughter. I miss the sharing of the week’s stories. I miss the worship. I miss the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our worship services – especially at Christmas.
Let me end on a positive note. In our “Virtual Visiting Fellowship Meeting” this week I shared a video clip from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in which Linus shares with his friends the “true meaning of Christmas” by reciting the story of the appearance of the angels to the shepherds and their message to them. Follow that link to see the clip yourself. (Watch for Linus symbolically dropping his security blanket just as he begins to quote the angels, “Fear not…”) Or, better yet, re-read the Christmas stories yourself: Luke 2:1-20 (the one with the shepherds) and Matthew 1:18 to 2:12 (the one with the wise men). Besides reminding you of the reason we celebrate Christmas, these stories can bring hope and encouragement in a year that has been lacking in positive community emotions.
Marian and I felt good about our minor role in helping ensure a few Food Bank clients had a happier Christmas. We look forward to our “virtual” gatherings with family over the next few days. We also look forward to returning to in-person congregational gatherings sometime in the new year.
I wish for each of you the best of the Christmas season. May you feel the blessings and promise of the birth of the baby Jesus. May you remember in your celebrations all of the blessings that may be a part of your life. May you also take time to remember those who need an interest in your prayers of support for the challenges they may be facing. And then, may we all look forward to a good and happy new year!
As always, I pray for you God’s blessings of joy, hope, love, and peace in these challenging times.
Canada West Mission Centre President
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537