Wishing You a Joyful and Healthy Christmas

I always considered myself fortunate, growing up in Easton. Most of my​ ​relatives were within a 20-minute drive, meaning we gathered together over the holidays, often at my childhood home. 

My cousins, siblings and I eagerly tore​ ​into our stockings as soon as our parents allowed us. We added all the leaves to​ ​the table so we could sit together and feast. We sang the “Twelve Days of Christmas​” ​as a family. As my siblings and I got older, we began attending midnight services at Jesse Lee United Methodist Church. Throughout the month of December, we’d see the nativity scene come​ ​out. 

Each week, a new advent candle would be lit. And finally, at midnight​ ​services, we would each hold a candle and sing “Joy to the World.” All those traditions I associate with Christmas are no-nos in 2020. It goes without saying that this year will be different. I’ll be home for Christmas … 2021?

After spending this summer in Easton, I’ve relocated to New York and decided against coming back to Easton for the holiday. Even with a pandemic raging, New York is beautiful at Christmastime, and we recently got a dusting of snow to top it off.  My celebratory surroundings almost take the edge off of the​ ​disappointment that it just isn’t safe for me to be home right now.

It would be easy to lament Christmas as yet another thing 2020 has taken​ ​away from me. But I’d rather take this moment to be an opportunity not just to feel melancholy ​but also to remember that there is more to come. Fundamentally, Christmas is the​ ​story of a birth — and a lonely one at that. I​ ​think the pandemic has been a lonely, ​yet occasionally rewarding rebirth for many of us. Who will I be when this​ ​pandemic ends?

It’s a question I’ve pondered a lot lately, with news of vaccines coming. I’m​ ​sure there will be things about my quarantine Christmas I’ll be missing this​ ​time next year: the solitude of being in my apartment with a cup of tea, the​ ​calm in not having to worry about how I’ll be getting home and when. 

Maybe you’ve​ ​joined me in finding new hobbies to take up this year or in reaching out to​ ​friends you’ve fallen out of contact with to catch up. I hope that my​ ​post-pandemic self continues to value these things.

Easton, I hope you celebrate Christmas — and any other holiday you observe —​ ​safely this winter. I will miss the warmth of being home this year, for sure. But we will emerge from this strange time eventually, and when we do, you can be sure I’ll be back home to celebrate.

Until then, my Courier colleagues and I​ ​wish you safe, joyful holidays and peace and good health for years to come.

Jesse Lee United Methodist Church Prepares for Christmas

Jesse Lee United Methodist Church winter — Joanne Kant Photo

Although Jesse Lee United Methodist Church is currently worshipping virtually, its members have been busy behind the scenes preparing for Advent and Christmas.

Our annual Giving Tree was filled with donations of Target gift cards that were taken to Golden Hill Methodist Church in Bridgeport for their outreach, and we are also collecting to aid Summerfield United Methodist Church of Bridgeport in their service mission.

We welcomed a new pastor, the Rev. Cleaven Johnson, in August who immediately had to learn how to do virtual services as we were all in lockdown. We have a vibrant outreach program that keeps in touch with our elder shut-in population.

We recently had a drive-by birthday party for member Paul Rawson on his 99th birthday and many members participated in the drive-by party for member Luella Ostrofsy’s 104th birthday. Although our popular 75-year tradition of the Annual Turkey dinner had to be postponed this year, we are already planning for next year.

For our Advent services, we have been having virtual lightings of our Advent Wreaths by parishioners from home. This Sunday at the 10 o’clock service the Hull family of Easton will be lighting their Advent Wreath. For our annual Christmas Eve service this year on Dec. 24 we will have a 4:30 p.m. organ recital by Joe Swindon, church organist and choir director, who is celebrating his 50th year with the church.

The service of Lessons and Carols will begin at 5 p.m. and includes a Youth Pageant entitled “What the Innkeeper Missed” by Andrew and Susanna Little. Participants are Quenton Haines; Elisabeth, Jeffrey and Jonathan Berg; Brian Sideleau; Juliette, Amelie and Avery Lin; and Suzanne Herlihy.

Soloist Joanne Kant, soprano will sing “O Holy Night” and the pastor will direct all in lighting candles from home. At 6 p.m. the pastor will ring the church bells in conjunction with Methodists around the state. We invite you to go to your door and ring bells then, too.

The Christmas Eve service, as all our services, is open to the public. To access the service go to 
Meeting ID #969-591-158
For telephone 
Dial +1. 646 558 8656   ID # 969-591-158. Then press the # symbol when prompted for participation ID.

Information is available on the website www.jesselee.org including the ZOOM and telephone links. Email jesselee.umc@gmail.com.