As I write this, Advent is still in full swing and Christmas is almost here. The sanctuary is still decorated, Santa hasn’t come yet, and our Christmas Eve services at 5:00 pm and 10:30 pm are a joy-filled future event. It’s a bit odd to be writing a message for the first month of next year when this year hasn’t ended yet. But a new year is an invitation to try new things and form new experiences. Last year at this time, I asked you a question: If you had a magic wand and could dream up anything to grow your faith, what would that be? Over the last year, we’ve had different opportunities to explore what an answer to that question might be. We hosted new Bible studies, formed new relationships with local charities, created new worship experiences and strengthened our prayer ministry. We’ve done more to showcase the generosity of this church and how your gifts make a difference in this place and around the world. We updated the lights in our sanctuary to match with our call to be proper stewards of God’s creation. We plan to start streaming one of our worship services in late January so that you can experience Christ Lutheran Church no matter where your life takes you. We spent the first year of a two-year program with the New Jersey Synod to strengthen our commitment to generosity and evangelism. And we’re working with other local Lutheran congregations to help new folks in our area grow a deeper connection with the communities they call home.

This journey over the last year hasn’t been without its challenges. Like other faith communities in our area, we’re discovering how we can continue to spread the gospel while living with our new fiscal reality. Every day, Jesus makes a difference in our lives, and we will continue to share Jesus in everything we do. If there’s a faith idea on the tip of your tongue that you haven’t yet expressed, there’s still time to make your Spirit-inspired idea a 2019 reality. You can always reach me by stopping by the church office or sending me at note at pastormarc@clc4u.com. Let’s make 2019 a year where our talents and gifts show our neighbors in northern New Jersey just how much Jesus matters to each of us.

See you in church!
Pastor Marc