Dear St. Mark’s Family,

It is cold outside as I write this letter and the weather gurus are predicting another dump of snow this evening.  But inside it is warm and festive, full of life and energy.  The church is decorated for the opening of the Journey of Christmas.  The Hall is a buzz of activity as a small army of volunteers are preparing for the annual Senior’s Christmas Banquet.  This is one of the many glad get-togethers of every age in our parish to celebrate the joy of this season.   I love this season, it’s color and pageantry, it’s music and parties, it’s food and family, it’s generosity and outreach.

Our young people led us again this year in the Project Christmas Child.  The congregation responded with 102 boxes filled with gifts for needy children all over the world.  There was another great response to the White Gift Sunday.  Our church Christmas tree is full of fifty-five gifts for this annual project sponsored by the Salvation Army.  These gifts wrapped in white are for local children who will delight in this present on Christmas morning.  There is much in this season for children.  They are having their Christmas Craft day this Saturday (Dec. 10) and their Christmas Pageant this Sunday.

We are looking forward to a visit from our Bishop to experience the Journey of Christmas on December 20th.  Staci Silva who is our YWAM missionary to Brazil will be singing and leading us that evening in Christmas carols.   It might be an excellent night for you to come by, take the journey followed by cookies, hot chocolate and Christmas Carols in the Hall.  Don’t forget to worship with again us at one of our candlelight communion services on Christmas Eve, 5, 7 or 11PM.

My thoughts and prayers always go toward you and your family in this season.  It is my deep desire that you would grow deeper in your faith and come nearer to the Lord who has come near to us.  That, really, is what Christmas is all about.  God’s Son, Jesus who was born one night long ago in a stable in Bethlehem.  The prophet Isaiah named this child Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us.’  God indeed came to be with us in the most remarkable and mysterious way through the incarnation.  The divine Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

It is my earnest prayer that the Lord of Love will dwell richly in your hearts and your homes as you celebrate together the joy and wonder of His coming.

See you in church,

Rev. Craig Tanksley