December 15, 2014
“For to us a child is born…
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
- Isaiah 9:6
Dear Members & Friends of Indo-Pak United Methodist Church,
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.
As I write this Christmas letter, I am reminded that at the writing of last year’s letter we did not even know if we would have heat in the sanctuary for Christmas Eve service. Our heating system had failed and the heating contractor we hired to replace the system quit without completing it. By God’s grace, our partially replaced system provided heat just in time for Christmas celebrations for WRUMC, Indo-Pak UMC and other groups. Then a friend of my son, Saj Johnson, was moved over our plight. He brought in his contractor who worked hard to complete the system without extra cost to the church. In return he simply asked that we pray for his family. Today, not only we have a more efficient and fully functioning heating system, we hope to have the sanctuary air-conditioned before next summer. Praise be to our God for His goodness in bringing Saj Johnson, and for the generosity of West Ridge and Indo-Pak church members.
Of course there is a lot more going on both in this country and in the world that is robbing our joy this Christmas season. The entire country is saddened with the events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City. Minorities all over the world, including Christians, are being threatened, persecuted and even murdered. We are all aware of crimes against Christians, Kurds and certain Muslims in the Middle East. What we may not be aware of is the grim reality that Christians have been burned alive and churches torched in India, Pakistan, Nepal and other places in recent months without any provocation from Christian Community.
Some may ask if celebrating Christmas is appropriate in the midst of all this violence, pain and sufferings both at home and abroad. The answer is clearly yes. It is at times such as this that celebration of Christmas is most appropriate and necessary. It is the good news of Christ’s birth that brings hope and stability in a chaotic world. There was a lot of turmoil and unrest in the world during the time of Jesus’ birth. The prophet Isaiah described the recipients of the first Christmas message as people walking and living in deep darkness who experienced hope and joy (Isaiah 9:2-14). Similar sentiment is echoed in the gospels. We are to rejoice even in the midst of our sufferings (1 Peter 4:12-13). The joy we have does not come from our surroundings but rather from our personal relationship with Christ, and all that He has done for us. Let us focus our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Finally, let us intentionally take time to celebrate the birth of our Lord, both at home and at church.
I invite you to come and celebrate Christmas with your church family on the following occasions:
Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Service Wednesday, December 24th 7:00 p.m.
Christmas Service and Fellowship Dinner Thursday, December 25th 4:00 p.m.
New Year Service Thursday, January 1, 2015 4:00 p.m.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Ernest C. Singh
Indian Church, Pakistani Church, South Asian Church, Chicago, Illinois, hindi, urdu