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  • Writer's pictureMemorial Fernandina

December 21st, 2023 | Rev. Dr. Mark Charles

I made a visit to the hospital today.


One of our parishioners had to go to the ER and another had been admitted this week. I wanted to visit with them both and take a moment to pray with them.  I got to the ER and found the person I was looking for. We had a brief visit, I offered a prayer, and then excused myself to go and visit with the other person I was there to see. I left the room, walked along the hallway of the ER only to see another parishioner stood outside a different room. After a brief chat, I prayed with their loved one, who was having a tough time, and then I left to go visit the other person I had planned to see. I was walking through the ER to get to the exit and happened to look into another room and saw another member of our church. I made my way into the room and caught up with what was going on for that individual, and then exited to go visit the other person I planned to go see.  On my way to their room, I saw another member of our church who was volunteering in one of the hospital departments. I stopped with that individual, had a quick chat, and then made my way to find the other church member I still had not visited with. When I found them, we talked for a little while and then I prayed and made my way out of the building and back to the church office.


I would never have thought that one quick stop at the hospital would have led to me encountering so many people from our church family, but it did. And it vividly reminded me that while the week before Christmas can be an exciting and joy-filled time for many families, there will also be many people for whom this Christmas will be marked with struggle, pain, and even loss.


Even so, the good news is still the good news, right? And the good news is that in it all – in the joy, frivolity, and fun AND in the struggle, pain, and loss – the Lord is near. The good news of Christmas is that in the birth of Christ, God pitched God’s tent among us and says to us all: “I am with you and I will never leave nor forsake you. You are not alone.”


Whatever is going on in your life, friend, the Lord is near.


I cannot wait to worship and celebrate with you on Christmas Eve. Make sure to check out our website for the times and details of all our worship opportunities this weekend – I’ll see you there.



Pastor Charlie







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