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Note from the Pastors

December 12, 2020
Good People of Zumbro,

Pretty much everything feels different this year. That goes for a trip to the grocery store, to family get-togethers for the holidays, to gathering at a graveside to say goodbye to someone we loved. Though we’ve gotten used to new patterns, that doesn’t mean the changes have been easy. We have experienced grief along the way: whether to cook a whole turkey, and fill up the Christmas stockings, and gather with the grandchildren.

At Zumbro, Advent and Christmas are feeling different this year too. We are doing our best to adjust. In the process, we are trying to be open to new possibilities God has in store for us. Here’s a list of things we’re trying:

We had to cancel our holiday Bazaar, and yet people have been sending gifts to augment funds that are normally raised – and given away – to local organizations.

Close to 140 Christmas gift bags have been shared with those 85-years and above, and also with those living in senior facilities. The gift bags included Zumbro coffee cups, a picture of the staff, chocolate, and homemade Christmas ornaments fashioned out of our old church pews by Lyle Solem.

Over 60 names will be lifted up at our Service of Remembrance. This service will be streamed on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 4pm. We have said goodbye to a number of loved ones over the past year. We miss them. This service is our way of remembering and giving thanks for them.

The always popular Children’s Christmas Program has been moved online to Sunday, Dec. 27 at 8:30am. Alert grandma and grandpa. The shepherds, angels, and wise men will be as adorable as ever!

Christmas poinsettias have been delivered to a number of our homebound members.Sixty dozen cookies were donated to our Cookie Brigade. They are being given to LSS youth and young adults, Luther College students, and to some Zumbro students home from college.

Lessons and Carols, which we have observed for 38 consecutive years at the St. Mary’s Chapel, has been moved to Zumbro’s newly renovated sanctuary. The event will be streamed on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 4pm. It will feature a combination of live scripture readings, musical recordings, and prayer.

The LSS Angel Tree includes gifts given by a number of area congregations. These gifts will be shared with youth and young adults at risk of homelessness. Some of the young adults have children of their own, and so their children will be getting gifs too.

A Live Nativity will be held on Sunday, Dec. 20, from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus will be there. They will be joined by a variety of farm animals. Note: if you want to be one of the characters in the story or help out in the parking lot, you can sign up on the church website.

Christmas Eve Worship will be celebrated on December 24. It will be streamed live at 4pm, but like all of our streaming events, it can be watched anytime. There will be things both old and new. We will read the Christmas story, sing some of our favorite carols, light candles virtually, and sing Silent Night together. We invite you to get crackers and juice and share communion at home. A quartet will lead the singing. We’ll be inspired by the Bell Choir and the Zumbro Lutheran Choir. And we’ll also be wowed by a choir of close to 900 singers, some of whom are from Zumbro. And because of the marvels of modern technology, we will do our best to stay safe throughout.

We certainly didn’t plan for our Christmas to look like this. In many ways, it will not be normal. When you think about it, though, the first Christmas wasn’t really normal either. God had come to earth in human flesh. Nobody was expecting it. It was far beyond what anyone could have conceived. But as the events unfolded, a little taste of heaven came down to earth. God was with us. The old became new. And the world has not been the same since.

In the strong name of Jesus,

Pastor Vern Christopherson