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As I reflect back on Christmas, I can’t help but shake my head…it was all so… strange. It was the first time in 47 years that I haven’t attended a Christmas Eve service. There was no Christmas parties to attend and no friends in my home (not even in my backyard). We dropped off presents at my brother’s house but we weren’t invited in. Apart from the enduring presence of Jesus, there was almost nothing about Christmas that I would consider “normal;” the one notable exception was the food. Christmas baking, Chinese Food on Christmas Eve, and a turkey dinner the next day—it was wonderful!

This is my first global pandemic, and I’m doing the best I can to love the people around me as we all wait for things to settle. I’m trying to notice—and celebrate— small moments of joy. I’m also trying to notice—and celebrate—the many moments in which I encounter the Lord’s goodness. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” In this season of restriction, when everything feels different, the Lord’s goodness remains—blessed is the one who notices and rejoices.

As a pastoral staff team, we continue to monitor Dr. Henry’s reports, looking forward to the time when we can gather in person again; until that time, we remain committed to finding ways to connect, worship, and grow in Christ. At a time when our Church building is largely empty, I wanted to let you know about a few updates that will be taking place in our sanctuary. Over the last number of years, our Board of Elders has been designating money to our Capital Fund in anticipation of future maintenance and repair. Paint fades, carpet wears, and pews become unstable.

We have had the funds in hand to repaint, re-carpet, and refurbish our pews for some time, but in light of the pandemic, we have waited to ensure that NSAC was in a healthy financial position—and we are. In the next 6-8 weeks, our sanctuary will be repainted, the carpet replaced, and the existing pews will be refurbished. If we were still meeting in person, this work would be quite disruptive to our gatherings; given the circumstances, this work can be done with very little interruption. As you connect to our online Sunday service, you will begin to notice the changes and I wanted to let you know in advance.

I’m looking forward to the time when we can enjoy being together again.

Grace and Peace to you,
Pastor Mark