Dear Church Family,
Merry Christmas! In the midst of this COVID season, and reflecting on the trials and challenges 2020 has presented, I hope and pray that you and your family have a Christmas filled with joy, comfort, and peace while we all cling to our faith and look for better days ahead.
Christmas is a special season. It is the time to remember and consider God’s love and His greatest gift – His plan of salvation revealed to us at Christmas time through the birth of Jesus. While we should celebrate and count that as our greatest blessing, it is a season to take stock of all the many blessings God has given to us and our church.
As I reflect this Christmas on the many ways God continues to bless Asbury, I want to share just a couple of them with you. First, I thank God for your generosity. In a difficult year with COVID and many transitions, you have continued to faithfully support our church family and our ministries. One example is that your willingness to continue to support Asbury has allowed us to continue to make a difference in the lives of our church family and our community, and we should finish in the black for 2020.
Another example is our annual “Christmas Is Not Your Birthday” campaign. Our goal is $78,000.00 and before our Christmas Eve Worship you had already given about two-thirds of that at almost $52,000. Thank you for your continued generosity in giving above your annual gifts and pledges to the church budget as we strive to make a difference for Hearts and Hands for Haiti, Rise Against Hunger, and our ministry to Lynn Road Elementary. Through these ministries we are seeking to do our part to help end hunger for children and families, locally and globally. May God continue to bless our efforts so we can continue to make this difference in His Kingdom work. I thank God in this season for the efforts of everyone involved with our community garden this year where we were able to donate over 7,500 lbs of fresh produce to a local food ministry in Raleigh.
I thank God for our in-person and online worship experiences this fall and look forward to our Sunday Services in the New Year – our outdoor service (8:30am) will continue beginning January 3, and our contemporary (9:30am) and traditional (11:00am) services will continue on January 17 for those who are comfortable in this season. I thank God for our online services that have helped many to continue to worship as they feel comfortable, or while they have been out of town, or when we have been affected by the intensity of COVID. Our online services include our contemporary livestream at 9:30am and our traditional service which is recorded and downloaded usually within 30 minutes of the conclusion of the 11:00am service – and we continue to explore the ability to LiveStream that service as well.
I thank God for many new families and visitors that He is bringing to Asbury in this season. We will hold our first Discovering Asbury forum by zoom on January 12 at 6:30p.m. and hope that all visitors and new families will join us and meet our staff and see how Asbury is making a difference in people’s lives here and around the world. As we get back to worshiping together safely on January 17, through social distancing and wearing masks, we will begin a new preaching series entitled “Come and See” which encourages us to share the good news of Christmas through invitation. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!
As Christmas in 2020 is different for all of us, I want to invite you to join us for our Christmas Day zoom at 1:00 pm for a devotion and singing on a couple of carols. This is a time to celebrate the Reason for the Season and connect with others in our church as we may experience separation from family, friends and loved ones in this season.
While this year has been different and challenging, and has affected our worship and ministries, the Savior of the world has not changed. He is still Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, and King of Kings. He is our promised Messiah and our Emmanuel. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. May the peace, hope, love, and joy of the Christ child dwell in your hearts today and each day.