Dear Friends,

During December, a friend shared with me a brief statement about how God is with us even as we go through some of the most difficult of circumstances. The year 2020, of course, comes to mind as a difficult time, with all the havoc the coronavirus has caused, and all the consequences for our lives. This name we have for Jesus of "Emmanuel" is most often associated with the birth of Jesus (see for example Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23). But the meaning of Emmanuel, as I'm sure you know, is "God with us", and that's a message we need all year round. So I thought I would use my friend's brief statement that I mentioned in worship one Sunday during Advent here again as a reminder as we begin this new year:

Even if we cannot gather in person
Emmanuel, God with us.

Even if some Christmas traditions have had to go
Emmanuel, God with us.

Even if we might not get to hug family and friends
Emmanuel, God with us.

Even if we cannot sing carols beside each other
Emmanuel, God with us.

Even if Christmas cheer is harder this year
Emmanuel, God with us.

There is nothing more valuable you can take with you into this new year, wherever you go and whatever happens, than this message of Emmanuel, God is with us. May you sense that God is with you every step of the way.

Grace and Hope to you,

Pastor Duane