December 21, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

December 21, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

Deck the Halls for the Coming of Christ
Haven Lutheran Church
December 21, 2020

A Pause in God’s Word in Our Hope and Expectation

“Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: thus says the LORD of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name…. your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever. “
2 Samuel 7: 8-9, 16

Prayer: (p.51) Liberating God, we thank you for the freedom found in you. We thank you for the ways that you call us and give us everything we need to serve you and love each other. Amen.


“Welcome to Our World” (Christmas Song)

“On Quiet Moment” (Glad  Capella)


WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL WELCOMED? Whether it’s to a someone’s home, an event, a party or a church? For me, it’s being helped to quietly, easily be included. It usually involves someone(s) taking me under their wing, bringing me into the flow but not forcing me to jump in the deep waters of people or attention at first. As I work to get the “feel” of the room or event, I appreciate someone filling me in on who people are or what is happening. And it is always nice to have someone ask, “May I introduce you to…” or “May I help you find….” before doing so. If there is a way I can help, I find that a comfortable way to ease into a group. Yes, I realize, this is the “way” of the introvert that I am. Yet some of the elements are the same no matter who you are. Welcome means folks find ways to make you feel included and wanted. How

HOW DOES THE WORLD WELCOME A SAVIOR? We once did a dialogue sermon for Christmas. It was between God and the angel, Gabriel. Gabriel had been asked to think of how to mark the occasion of Jesus’ birth. Gabriel had great plans. A whole publicity campaign, bright lights, visits from the great and the popular and of course, a choir of angels like no one had ever seen. “How else to welcome a king?” Gabriel asked as he added one more attention getting idea after the next. Until God told Gabriel to stop.
Jesus would be born in a stable and sleep in a feeding trough. The first to learn about his birth were to be humble, semi-outcast shepherds. Gabriel would tell them the good news and send them to Bethlehem. God gave in to Gabriel’s plea for an angelic choir of backup singers since they have been practicing what would surely be a new hit — “Glory to God in the highest and peace to all people on earth.”

It was not to be a welcome “fit for a king” but it was a welcome fit for the child who would show the world what God was like and how God thoroughly, perfectly, fully loved all people. The Almighty God would come as approachable as a tiny, vulnerable baby that you could hold in your arms, rock and marvel at his tiny hands and soft gurgles. The way of God’s coming was not as much about Jesus’ welcome by the world, but how God wanted to welcome us to come near, unafraid, curious and open. We say, “Welcome, Lord Jesus.” In the vulnerability, innocence and wonder of a baby, the Lords responds, “Draw near and know that I am your God, the light and love of the world. Do not be afraid

JOSPEH’S STORY  Yesterday, we heard St. Matthew tell us the nativity story from Joseph’s viewpoint (Matthew 1: 18-25) Last year during Advent, Jamie and Jim Cannon led an  adult Sunday School class in which they shared the poem you will see below. It, too, is written from Joseph’s perspective. It is poignant, lovely and leads to an unexpected but important question. This is worth pondering over several days. (Thank you Pastor Kaplan for reminding me of this poem.)

Joseph of the Crèche
Asks a Question
by John Shea, Seeing Haloes (Liturgical Press, 2017)

You may have me kneeling with a staff, my eyes unwaveringly downward on the child,
a portrait of commitment and readiness.
Or I might have my hands on the reins of a donkey, showing my willingness to journey to keep mother and child safe.
Or I might be standing to the side, indicating a supportive but secondary role.
I am hard to properly place.
Wherever you put me is fine.
I know what I have to do.

I am an inheritor of dreams. My ancient namesake saved his people from famine by
interpreting in the day the communications of the night.
I do the same.

My heart stays awake while my body sleeps.
I listen while the sounds of the earth are silent.
The angels of dreams only whisper commands.
“Take Mary for your wife.”
“Take the mother and child and flee.”
“Take the mother and child and return.”

My obedience has taught me to see through scandal.
What grows in Mary is the work of the Spirit – fragile, vulnerable –
pursued by the sword.
Life needs protection until list is ready to serve.
And I protect.

That is what you need to know about me and what you need to know about yourself.
It tells my truth best.
How do you make your strength serve love?








CAR-OLING FUN AT HAVEN LAST NIGHT   Many THANK to Doug Wright (sound equipment), Steve Pastena (carol selection, pianist and vocals), our music leaders, Charlotte Loveless and Margaret McKee and the nineteen cars of Haven members and friends who came. How heartening to be together and to sing safely as loud as we wanted!

Thanks to Bill Clark, we even have pictures:  Pastor Alessandri outside and the music and sound crew inside the Music Room; the cars for the CAR-oling. We ended with the traditional “Silent Night.” The last two pictures: Everyone was asked to turn on their votive. IF they wanted, people were invited to step out of their cars (honoring social distancing) and turn to face those in the cars so we would form a big circle.




We had nineteen cars at the CARoling party. Over 35 members and friends and four dogs!




Good Morning
We want to THANK YOU for the
CAR oling last night.  It was a wonderful pause in these sad times to help us feel some joy of Christmas.  A perfect evening.  (Please tell Steve that we appreciated it and wish him a Merry Christmas)
Merry Christmas. Love Pat and Karl Pile



COINCIDENCE? The bright outdoor parking lot lights came on within 5 minutes after we finished “Silent Night” with our votive light on.







This is a gentle loving chorus about moving through the pandemic. Its source is Jewish…appropriate on this final day of Hanukah*…but I send it because, to me it is so humanly-holy… I found it easier to breathe after listening. I hope you do, too.        Valerie Wills


*[the day Valerie send me this song]

“Joy to the World,” Legos Handbell Choir

“The King Is Born Tonight” (A Cappella Looping)