Pastor’s Christmas Letter

“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.” (Luke 1:39-40)

Dear Friends and Family of Cornerstone,

How has 2020 been going for you? It has been quite a year: a global pandemic, economic recession, unemployment, political division, cultural upheaval, racial tension, record wildfires, floods, and many deaths. On top of all this, some have relapsed, and many are struggling with depression, grief, fear and hopelessness.

Do you feel like you have hit an emotional wall this year? According to a recent survey, 3 in 4 Americans report the constant stream of bad news has taken a tremendous toll on their lives. Not surprisingly, 80% are desperate to be cheered up. If ever there is a year we need the hope of Christmas, this is it.

The visit between Mary and Elizabeth, one young and unwed, the other advanced in aged, both poor and pregnant, is a familiar scene during the Christmas season. These women have been the subject of mystery and intrigue over the centuries as scholars have examined this visitation, the significance and ultimate meaning within the narrative of the first Christmas.

While we can speculate the overall point is clear: Mary went to give encouragement and support, rather than waiting to receive it from someone else. It is within this scene, amidst the anxiety, confusion, and mystery of life that we encounter a friendship, within the plan of God. A friendship that leads into one of the most profound and prophetic words in Scripture, a song that invites us to consider that while we may not be able to make sense of our own circumstance, God has a future planned and a purpose in store for His children. 

Mary proclaims, “the Lord…has been mindful of the humble estate of His servant,” and the rest of her song proclaims that God in the mystery of His providence is working out His plan. This friendship and prophetic song present us with an opportunity to consider what God has done in the past, while encouraging others in the uncertainty of today about what God has promised to do in the future.

It is important to keep this friendship and Mary’s song in mind as we spend Christmas with friends and family, although differently than how we had hoped and planned. Our hope and prayer are that the eyes of our family and nation will be opened to see that the Child to whom the angel Gabriel declared would be named “Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” is the Lord and has come to seek and to save the lost. While much has changed over this past year, that truth is unchanged. 

What a blessing for us to have the baby Jesus! As we go about our celebrations and festivities this Christmas season, my prayer is that you do not let this story of God’s unfailing love for the world go unspoken, but share this good news with everyone, so that they can find hope, joy, peace, and love in baby Jesus Christ!  

Merry Christmas!!!

Pastor John Punni