Christmas Letter from Pastor Joanne
Greetings to you in the name of the Christ Child!
What a blessing it is to celebrate my first Christmas season with the faith community of the United Methodist Church of Mount Kisco. My heart is filled with much joy as we prepare to celebrate, once again, the birth of the Christ Child. And with that joy comes a confident hope in knowing that we also await the return of Christ and the coming of God’s Kingdom!
Living in the parsonage directly behind the church gives me a distinct vantage point from which to view the church steeples – at all times of the day and night. On early mornings I watch the first light dance off the spires, and many times over the summer, I witnessed the sky darken and storm clouds roll by. But I most love the view at night when the spires are illuminated by a full moon and surrounded by stars.
When I’m out walking Bella on those starlit nights, I can’t help but be reminded of the wondrous star that led the wise men to a stable in Bethlehem. And I ponder all the people throughout the centuries who have looked to the heavens for God’s guidance. It fills me with a sense of great awe. The stars and the moon make the world seem so very small – a place where we can reach out our hands in peace and love to each person who calls the earth home. God created the moon as the brightest light in the night sky, just as the nativity star was so long ago.
That star symbolizes the light that Christ brings into our world; a light of love and salvation to reconnect us to God and to one another. The candles we light in church and in our homes at Christmas bring Christ into our midst. Isaiah 60:1 tells us, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”
One of my favorite resources throughout Advent and Christmas is Howard Thurman’s “The Mood of Christmas.” In this book, the philosopher-theologian offers this poem:
I will light candles this Christmas
Candles of joy, despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.
Candles of courage where fear is ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.
Candles of love to inspire all my living.
Candles that will burn all the yearlong.
I hope you will join us for either the 6:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. candlelight services on Christmas Eve; both will include special music and the sacrament of Holy Communion.
I am eager to see what God has in store for us in the new year and how our lives and ministries will be transformed in ways we could never imagine. I am grateful for all the ways you support the ministries of the UMC of Mount Kisco and pray that you will continue to do so with your prayers, presence, service, gifts, and witness in 2018. Merry Christmas!
In God’s care and service,
Rev. Joanne S. Utley