What a year this has been! We will certainly have a lot to remember and talk about when we think of 2020 from the spring right through to winter, and we have only come to the beginning of winter with a memorable snow storm. We have a community poet by the name of Lilly Bigelow who used to belong to the whole Brockway area when she worked behind the counter of the Brockway Post Office and was known to everybody in town. Now in retirement, I would like to think of her as the “Poet Laureate” of Snyder Township.

Earlier this week, Lillian sent out this message titled, “Christmas season 2020 ...

Things are definitely different this year! Masks, and rules about holiday get-togethers. Christmas spirit laced with fear. Per government guidelines – parties are banned, bars and restaurants closed, travel discouraged, masks demanded, and church services opposed.

“Aah, Merry Christmas one and all!” Oh, I’m sorry – “Happy Holidays.” We have to watch our wording for who we might offend these days…. But CHRIST-mas is still the celebration of the birth of CHRIST – be it offensive to some, or not. He is still our Lord and Savior – The Father’s pre-creation forethought. Materialism and gifts still dominate the Christmas season. But, be it 2020, or any other year –the birth of our SAVIOR is still the season’s reason.

We may fight over who should be President. People argue about so many things! But one thing that will never change is – God is still our all and everything!!! Christ is still the Chosen One sent by The Father above. God came to earth to save His people. HE is still the God of love. It has been said, “God doesn’t cease to exist because we cease to believe.” And His children will still celebrate the Son of God’s birth every Christmas Eve.

Last Tuesday evening, the session of our church, the Brockway Presbyterian, met for its monthly planning meeting with some in person at the church while others followed along by “Zoom” on line from their own homes. Pastor Christopher McCloskey led the meeting and later provided several conclusions to tell of the church’s plans for the weeks over Christmas and on into the coming New Year. One of the questions from the session members was, “What are other Brockway area church’s planning to do?” He had checked with some of them and filled in the details he had found.

This is his report to the congregation and to other interested parties. “I write to you once again with a heavy heart, despite fully understanding that the closing of physical in-person worship for Christmas Eve is the right thing to do given the unprecedented situation we continue to face. I grieve with you the losing of yet another piece of normalcy on the Eve of Christ’s birth; I want nothing more than for you to fill the pews of our Sanctuary on the Eve of Christ’s birth; I want nothing more than to see all of your smiling faces and to together sing cherished Christmas carols.

While I am sure you yearn for the same things I do, this necessary change will in no way diminish our ability to worship and praise our Living God. For Immanuel still comes! God is still with us! The Spirit of God will unite us over the airwaves and the glory of the Lord will be proclaimed!

In Dr. Seuss’ classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch is puzzled when the Whos of Whoville still gather together and sing on Christmas morning even after he has taken all of their toys, gifts, and decorations. Finally, he comes to the realization that nothing can keep Christmas from coming. Because Christmas is not about what we do – it is rather about what God did, does and will continue to do for us. Christmas is about the Word becoming flesh to dwell among us. It is about our God who loves us so much that He comes into our midst in the form of a child.

Nothing can or will keep Christmas from coming because nothing in life or in death can separate us from the Love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. We sing ‘O Come, O come Immanuel! With Endless and Unconditional Love. Currently, the plan is to continue to hold Sunday services as we have been during this time. However, this may change as we respond to the on-going pandemic.

After careful consideration, much prayer and deliberation, the Session of the Brockway Presbyterian Church has made a difficult decision to NOT hold in-person physical worship on Christmas Eve, December 24th, 2020. The service will be live-streamed and recorded (more details and information to come later).” from Rev. Christopher McCloskey.

To this all of God’s people say, AMEN.

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