By Part of a series of ongoing contributions from the Lethbridge Interfaith Network on December 4, 2020.
This will be a Christmas like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable suffering worldwide and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It has also certainly limited our ability as faith-based organizations to congregate and worship and, for Christians, nowhere will this be felt more than at this Christmas season.
Like other Christian churches, we as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would see Christmas as an important celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Part of our celebrations would have normally included Christmas musical productions, an outdoor nativity where the birth of the Christ Child is re-enacted and an indoor “Festival of the Nativities” where hundreds of nativity scenes would be on display for all to enjoy. Thousands of people from the community would enjoy these events every year. Because of the pandemic, we will not be able to host these community events this year and, like many other organizations, we have moved many of our offerings online. We invite all to access a new website, http://www.FindingFaithinChrist.org, where one can find a beautiful video of the nativity story, ideas for family Christmas activities, and many other resources appropriate to the season.
Despite our inability to celebrate the birth of Christ as a community, we can still draw near to Him and celebrate His birth, His life, and His subsequent impact on our lives. As Handel penned in the Messiah, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Indeed, along with other Christian faiths, we look to the Messiah as the source of our peace, comfort and hope during these difficult times.
Our members are your neighbours and come from all walks of life. There are about 30,000 members from approximately 90 different local congregations living in southern Alberta. We used to be known as or called the “Mormon Church” because of our belief in an additional book of scripture, known as the Book of Mormon. However, we prefer to be called by the proper name of the Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We rejoice in and are followers of Jesus Christ (#Lighttheworld).
It is a great opportunity to be a part of our community here in Lethbridge. We believe that appreciation and gratitude are higher level attributes that contribute to bringing individuals, groups and communities closer together. Recently, the leader of our Church, President Russell M. Nelson, provided a brief message of hope to the world, with a major focus on gratitude (see President Nelson shares a message of hope and healing on youtube.com). In this same spirit, we express thanks to all in the City of Lethbridge who have been good neighbours, who have shown kindness and consideration to others, and who work towards making our community a better place (#GiveThanks).
Elder David C Stewart
For more information, check out http://www.comeuntochrist.org.