The following is adapted from a letter we sent to our church congregation this Christmas season.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). These were Paul’s words from a prison cell to the church at Philippi. They are poignant and timely for us this Christmas season at Wilkesboro Baptist. 2020 has brought more than its share of frustrations, challenges, and obstacles. Yet we still have reason to rejoice.
Please don’t read that opening paragraph and consider it insensitive. Some of us reading this letter have suffered this year (loss of loved ones, loss of employment, loss of financial security). Most of us have experienced anxieties and isolation this year. All of us have faced the unique circumstances brought on by the pandemic, political division, and interpersonal struggles. As a staff at WBC, we care deeply for you and have spent much time in prayer for you and over you this year. Yet we still have reason to rejoice.
There are many things we miss this year. We miss a sense of normalcy in life and in church. We miss the regularity of our gatherings and the familiarity of our worship services. But most of all, we miss each other. As your pastor, I miss seeing you on Sundays entering our sanctuary or walking through the hallways. I miss your greetings and your smiles. Yet we still have reason to rejoice.
We can anticipate the hope around the corner—vaccines that work, the new life brought by springtime weather, a return to a familiar schedule. We can be grateful for unexpected blessings—time with family, slower pace of life, reminders of what is most important. We have reason to rejoice.
According to Psalm 98 on which the carol “Joy to the World” is based, we have great reasons to rejoice.
- We rejoice in God the Savior. If we have assurance of God’s forgiveness and eternal life, we can rejoice.
- We rejoice in God the King. Because God reigns and has made us part of his kingdom, our hope rests on a more sure foundation than politicians and governments.
- We rejoice in God the Judge. Christ will return one day in judgment and justice. That he has judged our sins already on the cross gives believers confidence and peace to face the uncertainties of tomorrow.
We have reason to rejoice that when our experience of church changed, the mission of the church did not.
Because of your faithfulness and generosity Wilkesboro Baptist Church has been able to support mission partners financially. Our church and mission partners have spent 2020 feeding the hungry, caring for the hurting, ministering to the lonely, counseling the broken, and spreading the good news of Jesus to the lost. I want to thank you for your words of encouragement, support, generosity, and participation in church during 2020. We are blessed that so many of you are watching, commenting, and sharing our worship services each week. Thank you for being a reason to rejoice.