December 4, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

December 4, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

Deck the Halls for the Coming of Christ
Haven Lutheran Church
December 4, 2020

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

“[Jesus said:] “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Mark 13: 30-31

Prayer: Lord Jesus, living Word, the world teaches us that nothing last forever. But your teaching is more perfect and more powerful, sealed by your resurrection. Your word last forever, and on that word we anchor our hope. Amen

Pastor Kaplan suggests:
Each Winter As the Year Grows Older (ELW 252)

Fling Wide the Door (ELW 259)

Christ Be Our Light (ELW 715)

Other suggestions:

“Word of God Speak” (Mercy Me)

“Word of God, Come Down on Earth” ELW 510


“All Earth Is Hopeful” ELW 266  (St. Olaf Choir; Spanish and English)

From Pastor David Kaplan  (Thank you, Pastor Kaplan!)

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. (Psalm 80:3).

Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.  (Psalm 85:3)

It’s that common Hebrew verb that basically means “turn around.”  It often means that literally, a physical turning; but it can also mean a spiritual turning around, and then is frequently translated “repent”.  In times of grief and loss though, and especially in Psalms of lament (like 80 and 85, the lectionary psalms for last Sunday and this coming Sunday) it’s in a form that indicates causing something to turn around.  In defeat, in exile, in personal loss God’s people prayed that God would cause things to turn around the way they used to be, and in those circumstances the word comes out in English as “restore.”  That’s what “restore” means, isn’t it, causing things to happen as they used to be.

We know what that prayer is like, it’s the signature prayer of 2020 – especially as we approach this Christmas like no other!  Restore us, Lord, bring us back to normal where we can embrace family, friends and loved ones without masks, without distance and travel restrictions, without fear.  We remember the good old days way back in 2019 when those who are dear to us would be near to us once more.  Restore us, O Lord!

More specifically, you may be praying as I am, that through the new vaccines and other new treatments, God is indeed beginning to turn things around and bring healing and restoration if not this Christmas, at least by next.  But even here, even now, even in the midst of COVID, God answers our desperate prayer.  And not just restoration, but renewal in Jesus who came to bear our burdens, to suffer with us through every pandemic, to bring us light and life in our darkness and death.  His faithful promise is to come again, not to restore things the way they were, but to make all things new.


So how will we collect the food during a pandemic? You can help gather the needed food in one of three ways starting this Sunday
1) Pick up a tag with needed food items you will purchase in the church narthex.
2) Get a “virtual tag” of needed items that you will purchase by calling one of our three Haven helpers – Pam O’Connor, Pat Pile or Kelly Bracken. (virtual tags must be “picked up” by December 13)

After you purchase the food on your paper or virtual tags, you can bring the food to either the old kitchen, using the door near the Big Brothers Big Sister office entrance OR by leaving it on the back porch of the parsonage by Dec 20.

3) You can also participate by bringing, mailing or dropping off (at the parsonage) a donation. Checks payable to Haven Lutheran Church, with Food Baskets on memo line.

It RESTORES a bit of normalcy in our Haven Christmas celebration to be able to gather food and share it with our neighbors, doesn’t it?! There is HOPE!

LOOK for the light of Christ this weekend. Where did you see the light of love or grace in a person, event, experience? Send your experiences. Send a picture. Look at the Christmas lights and imagine them reflecting the star of Bethlehem.









WORSHIP AT HAVEN – This Sunday we “Deck the Halls with Wonder” as we read of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary and her response to God’s request. It IS a wonder.
On-line worship premieres at 9:30 am on Sunday (and can be watched any time after that at Haven’s webpage In person worship will also begin at 9:30 am on Sunday.

DECEMBER 20 HAVEN EVENT RE-NAMED — Our clever music director, Steve Pastena, has renamed the December 20 Christmas sing-a-long on our parking lot our “CAR-ol Sing” Safe in cars, we will tune in our FM dials and belt out carols to defy the pandemic and December darkness. Make plans to come!



Thanks to the generous donations from Haven members, we combined a God Explorer bible lesson with an act of kindness in the community.  We read the story of Elijah and the Widow in the Sparks Bible, and watched an amazing video of the story we found on YouTube.  Then [our grandsons] Roark and Quill, Jim and I set to work on creating the Jesus Loves You bags to give to individuals in need. As you can see the grandsons are hard at work making up bags filled with socks, hats, gloves and goodies from your donations.  Then we made a manger scene, and what really touched my heart were the messages they wrote.  I included one to give you an idea. Thank you so much for your donations.
Jamie Cannon