Christmas Letter 2020


One hundred and seventy-one years ago, Edmund Sears wrote, “O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing.” Recently, this line has found a new home within my heart. Traditionally, each Advent/Christmas season I meditate upon a phrase from a devotional book, the Scripture, or a Christmas song. Last year, I found delight when Lauren Daigle featured in Chris Tomlin’s contemporary song Noel sang, “Come and see what God has done.” The year before, Fleming Rutledge’s comment, “Advent begins in the dark” stirred within me. One year David Guthrie and Bruce Greer’s line from their cantata spoke into the depths of my spirit, “Heaven gave up a Son that day. Hear His Father cry. Sent to bear both the cross and grave, sinner’s perfect supply.”

This year my daughter has shown an interest in learning the refrains to our most beloved Christmas carols. I play the guitar and we sing the refrain to O Come, All Ye Faithful and The First Noel repeatedly. As she sings I am in awe of the beauty of the poetry to retells our Savior’s birth. To date Nadia is not (yet) interested in the refrain for We Three Kings, but we have received good mileage with Go, Tell It on the Mountain.

One night while we sung Nadia had the giggles. I am not sure if she giggled because she was stretching the word “Gloria” over four measures or if the strangeness of the Latin, “in excelsis Deo” tickled her ears in the refrain of Angels We Have Heard on High. Maybe it was by sheer accident. Maybe it was the laws of gravity hard at work. Maybe it was by divine appointment. That night my songbook slipped from the music stand and closed shut. When I reopened the book I had turned to Sears’ Christmas hymn, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear and my eyes were drawn to a line I had never given much thought, “O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing.”

Blair K. Anderson writes, “As a pastor in the early 19th century, Sears wrestled with issues of human greed propagated by the Gold Rush, emerging conflicts between the northern and southern states and growing sociological challenges, all due to the exploding industrial Revolution.” Sears retold in poetic fashion the Christmas story, specifically Luke 2:8-14. It is the familiar scene we visit each Christmas of “shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” (Luke 2:8). As the carol suggests, “It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old, when “an angel of the Lord appeared to [the shepherds], and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (2:9). The angel addresses a frighten band of shepherds with a command, “Do not be afraid” (2:10). However, the command quickly gives way to some much-needed good news, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (2:11).

Living as a shepherd in first century Palestine appears to have been a tiring and thankless job. It is not hard for us to imagine the difficulties that the people in Sears day encountered. Here we are in the waning weeks of 2020, worn out from the civil unrest in our nation’s streets, Covid-19 restrictions, market instability, massive wild fires, an overly active hurricane season, and a contentious presidential election year. This year’s events have taken the headlines and for many of us some of the joy and vitality within our hearts. Maybe this year more than any other we are to simplify our approach to Christmas. Maybe this is the year we accept Sears’ invitation to “rest beside the weary road…” Maybe this is the year to “hear the angels sing!”

This Advent/Christmas season I want to provide a place of respite for you. The sanctuary will be minimally decorated but full of the sounds of the season. On December 20th, as a congregation we will “rest beside the weary road” during an updated Lessons and Carols, with selected Scripture readings and the playing of our most beloved Christmas carols. My prayer is that we will “hear the angels sing” and one day join their song.

In Christ,


Pastor Nicholas Perry


In an effort to save on postage, we have enclosed your current giving statement (if your giving has been more than $25 for the year).  If you would like a printed or emailed copy of the end of the year statement, please contact the church.


Currently you can drop off your giving/tithe to the church, bring them on Sundays, or donate on line through our church website . (You can choose to use or PayPal to make your online donations. Directions for both are found on the website. If you have questions, you can contact the church office.)


We will be doing the reverse Advent calendar again this year. (We do ask that you double-check all expiration dates before dropping off your donations) There will be a wrapped Christmas box on the table by the side glass door as well as one outside Gibbs Parlor and in the Narthex for your donations


Requested items for the reverse Advent:

Soups: Cream of chicken, cream of celery, cream of mushroom.

“Hunt’s Canned Spaghetti Sauce, any flavors                Campbell’s “Chunky style soups.

CANNED gravy, please no glass jars.                              Boxed Stuffing, any flavor

Boxed Mashed Potatoes                                                    Canned Chili

 “Chef Boy ar Dee” meals, any style                                 Canned Cranberry sauce

Boxed Pancake/ Biscuit mix                                               Pancake syrups 

“Mac n Cheese” boxed meals                                           Boxed cake mixes; muffin mixes

Toilet paper 

*Items we do NOT need: No Green beans, we currently have an excess.