There is always a sense of awe and worship as the Christmas season begins. The church is freshly decorated and the change grabs our attention — Christmas is here. But today is a bit bittersweet. We bid farewell today to Krista Ziebarth. Really? It’s true. If you ask me, she hung around Rob and Kelly Jarosch way too much so she’s off to airplane mechanic school (in Oklahoma) and insists the commute is too far. Perhaps there is certain lack of commitment there. Hmmm. Krista has been a faithful teacher at our preschool, housemate to Lucille Beachler, and joy to all our lives. So, Godspeed, Krista. You can get a job back out here fixing all those broken planes at LAX after you are done with school. You will always have a home here.
And then a couple of weeks ago, we lost Carrie Brooks. Most of you probably don’t know Carrie, especially since she was quiet and due to failing health the last few years, she’s been home at Canterbury on Sunday mornings. She would come a bit early and sit with the Harpers. She was one classy Southern Belle who loved Jesus deeply and walked with Him daily.
She had a life with some rather tragic twists and turns, but you couldn’t tell. I heard her story on a visit to Canterbury quite a while ago now, and I just can’t remember all the details enough to put it down in writing today. I do remember it involved a tragic death in the family, followed by a plane crash while someone was coming to comfort her grief in the first loss. It was just hard. But what got her through it? It was the grace of God and her personal walk with Jesus that brightened those dark days.
She’s lived in Canterbury for over 20 years and drove down the hill to church in those first years here. She eventually checked us out (and her son from Maryland did the same) before we gained a stamp of approval. Today she’s enjoying that Savior she loved so well.
So December can be about transitions. Life doesn’t get put on hold just because it’s Christmas. For some it is not a pleasant or happy season, life has gone sour this year – or in some year gone by. Let’s be sensitive to hurting people this season while we let the joy of the incarnation flood our own souls. We cannot let the worldly distractions keep us for focusing on what Christmas is all about. Let’s keep our eyes on the target and lovingly share Jesus as God opens doors. Look for those opportunities. And engage in those conversations. We’ve talked about “the unfinished task.” And please don’t misunderstand the thrust: the missionary label is not just for those who go overseas. Christian maturity means following Jesus into the world. Our world.
Carrie, we miss you. Krista, keep your eyes on Jesus as you begin a wonderful new chapter. As for us? We will keep the birth of Christ as the focus in our church this year. And every year.