Today I found myself looking at photos from last year’s Christmas Pageant, and remembering all of the good work that Darien and Jamie and the kids put into making it happen. I remember the joy I felt in watching our kids lead worship and tell the story of the nativity. Joy that was, in part, inspired by a sense of the future, a sense that we were growing and creating a beautiful community where anyone can lead and teach out of the wisdom born from their own experience. But those photos are also a time capsule, as everyone in them is masked. Last Christmas we were still in the midst of the pandemic, still anxious and grieving and waiting for a time when we could see each other face to face.
This Christmas will be very different. We’ll get to see our children’s faces, sing together with full-throated voices, and worship with many new friends and church members. There are a number of unhoused people among our new friends, as our collaboration with OSU and the University District Organization has led us to provide office space to Morgan, the wonderful social worker who helps our unhoused neighbors find resources and support. One of the blessings of the past year is that we’ve gotten to know the names and stories of many of Morgan’s clients. During this Christmas season, I can’t help but reflect on the fact that we worship a Savior who’s mother couldn’t find housing at his birth, who was a refugee in Egypt as a young child, and whose ministry was itinerant, living, in his words, with no place to lay his head.
During this season of generosity, it is my hope that you will consider making a gift to St. Stephen’s. Your gifts support the growth of our community, and allow us to nourish and honor the wisdom of everyone who comes through our doors, from the children who will lead us in worship during the pageant on Christmas Eve, to our unhoused friends who have a more visceral understanding of Christ’s own wanderings than many of us will ever have. Your gifts support our Young Adult Community, our Adult Formation activities such as Book Club, Bible Study, and the Speaker Series, our Social Justice and Outreach efforts, and our worship on Sundays and Wednesdays, and also on special occasions, such as the Jazz Vespers and Winter Solstice services that are happening this December. It is our hope that you will consider including St. Stephen’s in your Christmas generosity.