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Letter from Amy: Dec 27, 2023


Our children's nativity, with a curious raccoon in the manger!

Merry Christmas, Incarnation!


Thank you to all of you for worshiping with us in the tent on Christmas Eve. And a special thank you to Johanna Montague for organizing our children's nativity play, and to all the kids for making the gospel story come alive.


If you were with us on Christmas Eve, you might have noticed I that choked up on the final blessing:


May the joy of the angels,

the eagerness of the shepherds,

the perseverance of the wise men,

the obedience of Joseph and Mary,

and the peace of the Christ child

be yours this Christmas;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

Amen.


As I struggled to pray those words, I had the faces of Incarnation's kids in mind. The joy of our little angels waving at their parents and friends; the eagerness of our young shepherds singing "glo - o - o - o - aria" with gusto; the perseverance of our wise men and their steadfast star in the face of a ruthless (and then dramatically dead!) King Herod, and our obedient Joseph and Mary peacefully holding the center amidst the cacophony of it all.


The children's voices, the joyful confusion, the smell of damp earth, even the sirens and amplified mufflers outside — the ancient story was incarnated into our time and place again, and God seemed so very tangibly With-Us.


We named this church "Incarnation" because we wanted to bear witness to the reality that God chooses to reveal himself in lowly, unexpected places. We orient our worship toward this counter-cultural reality each week so that we might see the Lord who is at once "high and holy, meek and lowly." As I reflect on 2023 in our church, I am most grateful for the moments when Incarnation embodied its name and made Christ visible in our midst. In other words, I'm grateful for each one of you and your place in this community.


Closing Out 2023


  • Year-End Giving. You should have received our annual Treasurer's letter in your inbox last week (available online here). This letter contained updates on our year-end financials as well as information about year-end giving. As you make decisions about charitable giving this year, I hope you will prayerfully consider a gift to Incarnation!

  • Reflecting on 2023. I shared a few resources for year-end reflection last week. I particularly appreciate this Great Annual Examen. On Sunday, Dec 31, we will use our time in the Prayers of the People to pray a simplified year-end examen together. I hope you'll join us!

  • Small groups are open! Most groups will begin the week of January 8 and will continue through Pentecost (mid-May). Learn more and sign up on the Small Groups page.

  • Location reminder: This Sunday, Dec 31, we will once again worship in the heated tent at Greenbrier Baptist.


See you all in the tent on Sunday! Let me know if there's any way I can be praying for you between now and then.


With love,

Amy


p.s. Someone asked me my favorite movie and book from this past year. Movie: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (a funny, surprisingly moving reflection on loss and community). Book: I'm finishing East of Eden this week (I may not quite squeeze it into 2023, but it tops my list even in its unfinished state). What were yours? I'd love to hear about them!

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