THE PASTOR’S PONDERINGS
By the Rev. Sharon Holt
Christmas is over, January is here. It’s time to take down the tree and put all the decorations away for another year. This Advent & Christmas season was an odd one for me. I had to dig deep inside to celebrate Christ’s nativity amidst other feelings of sympathy, sadness and responsibility.
Allow me to elaborate.
It all started before I left for South Africa at the end of September. Just prior to leaving, I got a telephone call from a member telling me they were going to be homeless at the end of the week. I was able to get a member of our church to take over while I was gone and get our member to Southington Community Services. Upon my return, the next month and a half was taken up with maneuvering through the complex and inadequate social services network to get suitable housing for our member. There were many challenges and obstacles, but we finally found an apartment and moved our member there.
In short order, there were two deaths of long-time members of our church, Ernie Burkhardt and Harriet Carlbert. Memorial services for Ernie were in October; Harriet’s service was in early December. Memorial services always cause me to spend time pondering mortality, my own and others, as well as the truth and hope contained in the scripture.
The day before Harriet’s service, a dear member of our congregation, Charles Hilton was admitted to the hospital. Day to day we didn’t know if Charles was going to stay with us or go home to the Lord. On December 19, the Lord called Charles home. During Charles’ illness, I received word that a former boss, mentor and close friend had died.
By the time Christmas Eve and our service of Lessons & Carols was held, I was physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted. I didn’t feel like celebrating, I felt like sleeping for about two days. Yet, as the familiar carols and readings poured forth, I found renewed strength and a stirring of joy. The celebration of Christmas is a milestone every year, a time to look back into the past and forward to the future. I left that service feeling uplifted, renewed, held in prayer by our congregation and secure in God’s love; looking forward to the joys and challenges of 2020
Oh, I apologize for not sending out Christmas cards this year. I had a couple of other things going on. Please accept my prayers and best wishes for a healthy, happy 2020!