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The Session and Reopening Taskforce met over the past two days and we are in agreement that as much as we would dearly love to offer some kind of in-person service on Christmas Eve, the continuing rise in COVID cases in Hamilton and the rest of Ontario unfortunately makes this impossible.
Daily case numbers in Hamilton are now over 100 on a regular basis with no sign of levelling off. There are warnings of many hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area reaching their capacity and calls for everyone to stay home and avoid contact with others as much as possible. While there was no announcement of a lockdown for Hamilton this afternoon, it is likely that one may come as early as Monday or perhaps for Boxing Day. We know that this is deeply discouraging and adds to what has already been a difficult time of year.
Yet this does not mean that Christmas is cancelled. Christ comes to us whether we are gathered together in one place or scattered each to our own households.
An online Christmas Eve service will premier live on YouTube on December 24 at 4:00pm and be available at any time after that. This service will include Christmas readings by members of our church, Christmas Carols and music from the St. Andrew’s Band and some of our Choir members.
There will also be a Christmas Zoom gathering at 7:00pm, where we can wish each other a ‘Merry Christmas’ and sing ‘Silent Night’ together (those without internet access will be able to call into our local teleconference number). All these details will be emailed to those on our mailing list at noon of December 24. If you are not yet on the St. Andrew’s mailing list please write to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 23 at 5:00pm to be included on the Zoom Call.
We pray that you would be filled with the hope, peace, joy and love of Christ as we continue to journey through this pandemic. There is hope on the horizon as vaccines have started to make their way across the country to those in greatest need of protection. But even as we give thanks for this, and await widespread vaccinations in the coming months, we remember that the one who fulfills our greatest hopes and brings us the most profound health and salvation is the Child of Mary, who is the Son of the Living God. May you know his coming among us in the coming days and in the season to follow.