Dear Southern California Conference family:
Christmas Day is a couple of days away, and no doubt this year will be our once-in-a-lifetime celebration: a virtual Christmas. This one will be unforgettable; let me tell you why.
Although the pandemic has restricted our social life in person and has limited many areas of our lives for 300 days, these months also have been an opportunity to expand our creativity and enhance our personal lives and the lives of others.
As a Seventh-day Adventist family in Southern California, united as never before, we have made a difference in the lives of many people beyond our church and school buildings. Together, we have determined to be the eyes, the hands and the feet of Jesus as we have traveled this unknown road before us.
Let me tell you one thing. This year, across our conference, our churches didn’t have the ordinary evangelistic meetings or Bible classes we commonly have every year, which resulted in fewer baptisms in our churches. But, as never before, our churches impacted thousands in their communities by providing food, money, companionship and counseling, lifting them in prayer, alleviating the fear, encouraging them to move on in life and guiding them to trust in God amid these difficult times.
What a wonderful time we have had seeing people’s smiles when they received a basket or box of groceries, a school backpack or monthly tuition, a month of paid rent, a donation to pay rent or anything else they were lacking.
Churches have reported inspiring stories and extraordinary experiences and many, many others that we will know of only in heaven.
As people of the Bible, we know that when Jesus comes, He will look at how we treated others in times of need, scarcity, restriction, pain or loss. As we read in Matthew 25:31-46, these 15 verses are crucial at His coming. This is genuine Christianity.
There is no doubt that His second coming will happen soon. So, let us be busy preaching through our testimony, our service and our love for each other.
In the meantime, my fellow colaborers in God’s mission, at this time of remembrance and celebration of the first visit of Jesus to our world, let's enjoy our time with our loved ones and anybody else who needs our attention and time.
Again, this Christmas will be unforgettable because we, through this year, experienced the spirit of giving ourselves by serving others. This is the real spirit of Christmas!
Velino A. Salazar