Pastor’s Corner

Meet our Pastor

Pastor Julie LaHam is a 1994 graduate of Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Holy Cross is her third church since her ordination. Pastor has served, and attended, as a lay person, small to moderately sized churches, preferring to be part of a close community.

“While I am capable of spending my life programming, and managing staff as one must in a large church, I much prefer the kind of hands on ministry one is privileged to do in a smaller church.

Although I was first introduced to God’s limitless grace when I became an active member of a Lutheran church in Chicago, it was not until my first year in seminary that I came to truly understand its meaning. There I learned that we are all children of God and that it is through God’s grace in giving Jesus Christ to redeem us that we are saved. What a relief! What joy to realize that through no efforts of my own, but through the redeeming grace of Jesus’ death and resurrection, I am made whole. You are made whole.”

How Do You Prepare for the Celebration of the Birth of Jesus?

Since I’m a pastor, I begin to prepare by studying liturgies for Advent and Christmas, meeting with the church’s Music Director, and planning the services.

At home though, I start the search for my “Advent Wreath.” Where did I put it last year? I know it isn’t with the Christmas decorations because it has to come to life before they do.

I had been looking for years for a replacement for the “wreath” I bought in Germany. It was simply a four inch (or so) cross cut of a tree trunk, with the center hollowed out and four holes for candles drilled in the few inches of wood left around the circumference of the circle. I loved this unusual, natural Advent candle holder, even when the bark around the outside began to dry out and come off. After it finally cracked in half, I had to throw it away, but I made it a mission to again find something cut from wood for my Advent candles.

Last year at a craft fair, I found what I wanted. An artist was showing tea light candle holders made from flat cuts or slabs of bark he had cut from logs. Into the bark he cut holes the size of tea lights. I surprised him when I asked if there was one with four holes because I wanted to use it for Advent. Together we looked through everything that he had, until I found the only piece with four tea lights. That, and the beautiful piece of blue turquoise he had glued onto the varnished bark made it a perfect choice for me—especially since Advent candles are often blue.

So, that’s how I start—by remembering that it is Advent, a holy time when we hope to take at least a few moments a day to light a candle, pray or sing a carol, and to remember that it is a love beyond our understanding that brought us the first Christmas.

Having traditions brings us peace, and a sense that the world is still okay. If you don’t “celebrate” Advent yet, how about starting the tradition? There are many ways to do it, from the candy filled Advent calendar, to candles and a prayer.

May Advent be a peaceful time of preparation and love for you. May the lights of the Advent wreath remind you of the Light of the World who came to us so many years ago and remains with us still.

May the Christ Child bless you and yours this Christmas and forever,

Pastor Julie