“Joy to the world, the Lord is come…”
The lyrics of this Christmas classic are probably familiar to all of us.
In her devotions for school staff last week, our Vice President of Programming, Dr. Vanesa Scott-Thompson, talked about how challenging it can be to have a spirit of joy when we consider all that is going on in our world, and also at Elim.
With our school program doing remote learning through January 18, community day services faithfully serving as high a percentage of participants as possible, and Elim Learning restricted to remote training and consultation, joy can seem elusive.
These are challenges for us emotionally and spiritually, because we want to do what we are able and willing to do: to serve people in person, with no barriers, and no worries about safely doing so. They are also real for us financially, as the number of people we serve directly impacts our program revenue, which is severely depressed this year.
To be sure, the challenges we face are real, but the joy those challenges take from us can easily be misplaced, especially in this Christmas season.
The focus of our joy as Christians, especially in the Christmas season, is not on our circumstances, but on the gift God has given to us in Jesus. The Bible is very clear that our joy is in Immanuel: “God with us.”
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us).”
– Matthew 1:23 NIV
Elim family and friends, as pandemic-weary people, we desperately need this joy, the eternal joy that only Jesus can bring!
“Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They are his people, and he is their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good – tears gone, crying gone, pain gone … Look! I am making everything new.”
– Revelation 21:3-4 MSG
In Christ, joy gives way to hope, because Christ has overcome!
So, while we celebrate the joy of Christmas, let us also confront the challenges we face with hope.
Below is a timeline for remote learning:
We understand how difficult this will be for students, parents and families. Our staff is committed to provide the most appropriate and beneficial instruction whether we are in person or remote and they continue to exceed expectation in every aspect.
Our adult services program will continue operating at 50% capacity.
As we live in the predictability of unpredictable, I invite us all to soak in the truth that we are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ. As Paul writes in Roman’s 8:38-39:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
For accurate and complete information regarding Covid-19 infections in the state of Illinois, we recommend that you refer to the infection information provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the CDC. The following articles include stories that connect to or directly impact the Elim community. Please be in prayer for our friends and ministry partners living at or working in adult residential settings.
Adapted from Northwestern University
Once we do return to our campuses, standard precautions for Elim clients, students, staff, and families will apply. It is important to reiterate that the best way to protect ourselves is to continue to employ the standard precautions that we employ everyday:
In light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 the Elim community has taken the following additional precautions through at least April 30, 2020:
Elim is committed to fostering an environment that empowers people to come forward and report if they are ill. Stigmatizing COVID-19 will only make us more anxious and ensure community spread. In that spirit, we provide you with the following additional information. For the most reliable and up to date information about COVID-19, please click on the links below:
We appreciate your partnership as we take every precaution to keep our community safe.
Dr. Bill Lodewyk
on behalf of the Elim Coronavirus Task Force and the Elim Leadership Team