Close to Home is our congregation’s 2021 Advent and Christmas theme. Using materials from Sanctified Art the theme centers us on the Holy Scriptures we will hear during worship and the implications of God’s Word for our daily lives and faith. In these sacred readings we will hear of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth’s home. We journey with Joseph and Mary to his ancestral home of Bethlehem where Jesus will be born. Wise men from the East will travel far from their homes to visit the Christ Child. John the Baptist will share prophecy that hits close to home calling us to prepare the way of the Lord and challenging us to respond to God’s coming and grace with actions that reveal our faith and hope.
This Advent we will once again be reminded that God fills our lives with gifts of hope, peace, joy and love. We live between the first and second coming of Christ. Christ’s birth in Bethlehem serves notice that God is not on the sidelines of life rather in the midst of it. At the same time, we await Christ’s return and while we wait God draws us into a life of faith active in love towards God and the world.
The global COVID-19 pandemic is approaching its two-year anniversary. Our homes have been our sanctuaries, workplaces, and recreation locations. Travelling home for many has been difficult and last Christmas it was challenging for many to find their way home. This Advent I pray and hope that each of us can connect with the “homes” in our lives. I hope you and your family can be together safely. I encourage our congregation to draw closer to one another and to our collective home – Christ Lutheran Church. Your presence at church makes a difference as we worship Almighty God and serve our neighbors. Throughout Advent and Christmas opportunities abound to help those in need and celebrate the joy of the season as a community of faith. If you have been away or unable to join with us, Advent and Christmas are wonderful opportunities to reconnect and in turn be refreshed and renewed by God’s grace and love.
May you and yours have a blessed Advent and joyous Christmastide.
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Stephen Herr
The artwork on this page is from the Sanctified Art collection.
Above: Gather Us In by Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity, Inspired by Zephaniah 3:14-20
Digital painting with collage
Right: Dances for Joy by Hannah Garrity Inspired by Luke 1:39-45 (Mary goes to Elizabeth), Paper lace with watercolor.