It seems our dream of a white Christmas has become a bit of a nightmare at this point! Who would have thought we would end up canceling worship on the Sunday before Christmas? Who would have thought that the snow would hang on this long? Is this Portland?! But as long as we're all safe and warm, we have much to be thankful for.
Your SOV leadership team is working hard preparing for Christmas Eve worship services. Since we are in uncharted territory, we are all "making this up as we go!" Our faithful secretary, Nancy, has been stuck up on the hillside where she lives for a week now. (Rumor has it that she and Mark are still getting along!) Because Nancy has been unable to get to the office, your pastor has been "promoted" to the role of secretary and, with the musical input of Kevin, has put together draft bulletins for the Christmas Eve services. So, it won't be a fancy bulletin, but we'll have one! And that's okay, because our Lord wasn't born in a fancy palace, but in a humble stable, so the plain bulletin will be very appropriate! What matters most is that we gather together to celebrate God's greatest gift with Scripture and song.
Meanwhile, your capable council president, Diane Lewis, is trying to round up someone to clear the church parking of snow, and your loyal Altar Guild is planning to prepare the church so that we can gather for worship on Wednesday evening at 4 pm, 6 pm, and 11 pm. We will do our best to make the lot as safe as possible.
In short, we will do everything in our power to make sure that we can hold Christmas Eve services on Wednesday. However, we also recognize that not everything is "in our power." The weather forecast indicates that we will continue to get snow for the next couple of days. If you don't feel safe coming to church, please stay home and worship God at home. Read the Christmas story, Luke 2:1-14, and ponder the miracle of what God has given us through Jesus. Say some prayers and sing some songs. For those who are unable to attend worship, I will send out a copy of my sermon by e-mail. Also, I again encourage you to take advantage of the many radio and tv broadcasts this time of year. Here are a couple of examples:
Lessons and carols from Kings College, England: 89.9 FM radio at 7 am or 5 pm on Christmas Day
Christmas at St. Olaf: OPB (Channel 10) at 2 pm on Christmas Day
Also, in this season of giving, please remember that even when we can't always physically make it to church, the work of the church continues at Shepherd of the Valley and so do the costs of doing ministry in the community. December is traditionally a time when congregations receive large offerings, because people want to take advantage of tax deductions before December 31st. SOV is no exception to this rule. If you are not able to make it to worship, please consider mailing your offering to the church office: 17625 NW Cornell Rd., Beaverton, OR 97006.
Stay safe and warm, and may the blessings of the Christ Child fill your hearts,