December 23rd, 2020
Fifty and Better (FAB) Winter Session & January Lectures
FAB’s 6-week Winter Session begins on Jan. 19, and registration is now open! Courses include: History of Women Artists, America and the Cold War, American Life Through Broadway Musicals, Pioneer Women of the Movies, and more! We hope you will join us for these captivating courses. Individuals 50+ are welcome, please share with your friends and family! FAB will also be hosting lectures in early January. Join us as JPL’s Luis Velasco talks about the Perseverance Rover and the challenges leading up to the February landing, and Eleanor Schrader takes us on a journey out West through Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. Lectures are open to all. For more information visit: https://www.callutheran.edu/centers/lifelong-learning/fifty-better/
Encompass Ministries continues their work with the houseless this season. They are always taking donations. You can drop any items into the blue bins just outside the office door inside the building.
They are looking for:
empty 8oz water bottles
yarn for hats
empty 8oz water bottles
empty 8oz water bottles
paper bags (for Martha's)
and did I mention - empty 8oz water bottles
And you can always donate through our website; www.encompassministry.org.
It is apparent that we will have a different Christmas this year. The pandemic affects all of us in one way or another, some more than the others. While some of us are inconvenienced by wearing a mask while out in public, or waiting in line to get into a store, or not being able to dine in our favorite restaurants, I also know of friends who are going through the pain of losing a friend or a loved one because of COVID. With the implementation of another lockdown, plans are changing, and a few Christmas traditions will have to wait till next year to happen. In CGS, we will not have our yearly Christmas concert that the choirs put together to help raise funds for our ministries, or get together in person to sing carols and hymns, and share food or treats. Mike and I will not be traveling to Montana this time to spend Christmas with family. So, for now, we’re holding on to the fond and joyful memories of past Christmases, and I’ve got plenty to get me through. Some of my happiest Christmas memories go back to when I was a teenager in the Philippines. I remember going house to house with my choir, singing carols, receiving gifts, and at the end of the evening, sharing lots of laughter over simple food. We would also go to amusement parks that were only open around the season, and enjoy the rides and whatever tasty munchies that we could get our hands on. In our home, Christmas Eve dinner, which is traditionally called “Noche Buena”, was always special. Mom would prepare foods that were only served during special occasions, like roasted chicken, ham, “arroz valenciana” (savory sticky rice with meat and vegetables), and Filipino-style spaghetti (don’t laugh, but it’s sweet, with cut-up hotdogs, ground meat, and the usual tomato sauce, with maybe a little bit of banana catsup). Coming to the US, I’ve made new fond memories with different people in different events and places, like singing with dear friends in the Christmas concerts of the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus, and engaging in some traditions we have at CGS, like sprucing up our church at the beginning of the season and putting together our own Christmas concert and pageant. And this year, what I will miss the most is spending time with friends in our homes, singing together, and sharing food and laughter.
However, pandemic or not, as different as it will be, Christmas is coming, and its message stays the same – the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that gives us hope.
A safe and merry Christmas to all!
-Rey Lambatin, CGS Choir Director
Christmas is my favorite time of year… I spend extra time thinking of special things to do with and for my friends and family. I decorate my home with sparkly ornaments, stockings, snuggly quilts, and my nativity scene. I bake like a crazy person and share my creations with people in my circle and I sing Christmas pretty much non-stop. So, this year, 2020 things are different for so many reasons. Not only are we dealing with a global pandemic and all of the things that are involved with that, I am also going through treatment for Breast Cancer. Yes, 2020 has been a gut punch for so many reasons.
But, as my family of four sat around our Thanksgiving table last week, we talked about the things are we are thankful for, and even in the midst of all the crap that we are dealing with we each were able to think of things that we can give thanks for. My boys are thankful that even though they can’t hang out with their friends in person, we have technology that they can use to connect with the people that they miss. My husband and I are thankful for the access to the healthcare team that was able to get my treatment moving within a week and a half of my diagnosis. Also, I am thankful that at the 8-week mark of my treatment, (I am currently at week 19) an MRI showed that the chemotherapy that I had been having, shrunk the tumor from 1.5 cm to .5cm. Hopefully, the additional 12 weeks of chemo will shrink the tumor completely and there will be virtually nothing to remove at my lumpectomy in January. I am also thankful for the number of people who have supported me and my family through this cancer journey. You all, my CGS family have reached out so many times with words of love, prayers, and support over and over again. I feel like even though I have been going through a dark time, I have seen the face of God through so many of you.
So, even though this year’s Christmas will be different, I am determined to soak up all the good things about the season that I enjoy. I can still connect with the people I love, I can sing my heart out to all the Christmas music that makes my heart happy, and I can put out my decorations to make my home extra festive, although I admit that I am scaling things back this year. Even though I miss seeing you at church each week, I still feel connected to our church community and I am thankful that our special family exists. I am thankful for the continued ministry of CGS. Merry Christmas to you all.
-Petra Menard, CGS Council Vice-President
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.