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Christmas Eve Cancellations

A message from Pastor Ed Walker

This is not how I wanted to experience Christmas Eve at Mount Olivet this year!

First the news ...

Mount Olivet is cancelling all in-person Christmas Eve worship services. We will only have online worship — available anytime beginning at 8 AM on Christmas Eve.

Seeing the high infection rate in Arlington — the highest since covid began almost two years ago — I cannot morally justify a large gathering in the church. I had hopes, even quickly devised a plan, to move some of the services outdoors. At least that way we could be together and celebrate the savior's birth. Then reality began to settle in ... key volunteers, and even some staff, are testing positive or awaiting test results. Many of the children at our Family Service do not qualify for vaccinations and they will be donning pageant regalia, and interacting with children to their left and right ... and then, whoops! There goes the mask.

This is not a decision arrived at without much thought, conversation and prayer. I will miss seeing you, singing carols, receiving Holy Communion, and one of my favorite sights every year — watching you sing Silent Night in the glow of candlelight.

I ask that you join me in recognizing and thanking our staff and volunteers for the hard work they have put into planning for what 'would have been' on Christmas Eve. Planning began last summer; supplies were ordered well in advance because of supply chain slowdowns; pageant costumes were meticulously arranged and packaged in transparent bags; and candles were carefully arranged for worshipers to pick up on their way into worship. As I write this, it looks like only people are needed to bring the building to life. But that is not to be, again, this year. This is not the way I had planned to spend this Christmas Eve.

You know me and you know that I always search for meaning in every life experience, no matter how significant or mundane. A second year apart on Christmas Eve ... where is the meaning in that? While we should not gather in congregate settings for the time being, we can still sing. We can still walk and visit with neighbors and fellow church members around the neighborhood. We can still hear the good news that Christ comes whether we gather together or not. God does not need our help in order to take on human flesh. In fact, it is our involvement in that story that led to such a potentially tragic end of life. Only God had the last word ... resurrection. In fact, God also has the first word.

John 1:1-5 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."

Remember this my brothers and sisters — the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not, (and might I add, will not) overcome it.

Merry Christmas everyone,

Pastor Ed