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FATHER TOMMY’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

Dear Parish Family,

As we continue to journey through this time of expectation and hope during Advent and look ahead to the joy of the celebration of our Lord’s nativity, I hold you all in my prayers.  This year Christmas will be different for most of us than ever before. We will not likely be able to gather with family as we have in years past; we will not be able to freely gather without restrictions at the Chapel – there are a host of reasons this Christmas will be more difficult for so many of us. 

But you know, the good news of the Gospel is that Christmas is about God entering into our mess.  God comes to us, not because we have it all together, but precisely because we live in a world of chaos, sin, and decay.  The good news of Christmas is that God runs towards his people who call upon him in time of need.  In and through Jesus, God will change our chaos into order and our sin and decay into holiness and abundant life.  We do not have to pretend all is well.  God is accustomed to walking through dark shadowy places and leading his sheep to grassy green pastures.  After all, when God put on flesh from the Virgin Mary, He was born, not in a mansion, but in a cave – the portion of the cave that was used as a barn to shelter animals!  God came among us knowing that our world was messy and broken with no room for him.  He came to us and comes to us because He has room for us as we are, where we are, no matter what we may be going through. 

So, I invite you: enter into this holy season as you are.  You need not wear a mask or be anyone else.  God loves you for you and wants to work new creation in all of our lives. 

 We are doing our best here at Washington Memorial Chapel to give you every opportunity to enter into this holy season as you are.  Below is a list of services that we will offer here at the chapel for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the Longest Night. We have also moved to a more streamlined application for signing up for Sunday and other services.  You can simply go to www.wmchapel.org and click at the top of the page to sign up for future services.  Now, you’ll be able to sign up for weeks in advance including Christmas Eve services.  Here are this year’s Christmas Services:

The Longest Night Holy Eucharist, Monday December 21, 2020, 7:00pm

Of the many events throughout any year which renew our sense of loss, the approaching holiday season is perhaps the most difficult.  Everywhere we turn in our daily life we see the atmosphere of the Christmas season conveying a message of joy.

We hear Christmas music all around us.  We are inundated with commercials of gift giving. We hear invariable references about being together with family and friends, which probably causes the greatest pain for many as this is a reminder of their feeling of loss.  Many people are suffering the anguish of broken relationships; the insecurity of employment and unemployment; the exhaustion of ill health; the hurting of solitude; the loss of a parent; the unimaginable loss of a child; the loneliness of no longer having a beloved spouse to share each day; the loss of a sibling; the loss of a dear friend; the loss of their beloved family pet and loyal companion; all of which can contribute to a feeling of being heavy-hearted in the midst of a society around us who feel merry as they celebrate the season.  There are years when we hurt terribly as the holidays approach and we can’t display the same festive spirit as others appear to do.

It is during these times we need to make the space and take time to acknowledge our sadness and concern.  There is comfort in knowing we are not alone.  For all of these reasons, we invite you to participate in our Longest Night Mass on December 21 at 7pm.  You may sign up to be present in person or watch the livestream from home.  We hope you will join us for this special Mass to feel God’s presence in your time of darkness and to be comforted knowing that you are not alone, and that God’s Word is ever-present to shine light into our lives.

Christmas Eve Masses:

5pm Outdoors:  Because we want as many as possible to be able to gather physically for the Mass for Christmas Eve, we will hold the 5pm Christmas Eve Rite II Choral Mass outdoors this year.  Because it is outdoors, in the Woodland Cathedral, we can accommodate up to 200-250 people physically distanced.  This will be a lovely choral Mass, and we encourage you to attend even if you normally would have attended at a different time. 

7pm, 9pm, and 11pm: We will have these Masses in the Chapel at the normal times under our current COVID19 protocols.  We can only accommodate 25 persons in the Chapel at one time due to the pandemic. 

Christmas Day Mass:

10am in the Chapel with no more than 25 persons in attendance.

Whether you join us physically or virtually, we are looking forward to worshipping with you this Christmas!

Christ’s Peace,

Fr. Tommy

Washington Memorial Chapel