Happy New Year!!
You say that it is a bit early to be wishing all a Happy New Year? Not in the church. Today is the first day of the church year as we begin a new cycle of readings and observances. So yes, Happy New Year!
Today we enter the season of Advent – the four Sundays preceding Christmas. This is a time of reflection, repentance, and preparation for the event of the birth of the Christ child. This is an event that happened in the past historically, that happens in the present as we live into our faith, and that will happen in the future when the kingdom of God is fully manifested. This is one of those special times of the year that we mark with midweek services. This year they will be held on:
Each of these days we will gather for a simple meal followed by a short worship service. Dinner will begin at 5:30 and the service will begin at 7:15. Please take some time out from the busy-ness of Christmas as it is celebrated in our culture to slow down and reflect on the mystery that is unfolding – the mystery that God would see fit to become one of us, to live among us.
In order for us to share a meal, we will need volunteers to bring soup and bread or crackers. Two pots of soup should be enough for each week. We will have a signup sheet available on this coming Sunday. Pick your favorite soup to share!
In our society, there is much emphasis this year on social events. It is always good to get together with friends and family, but even this can become exhausting as schedules become filled with all sorts of events in addition to the tasks we feel we must do. There is also much emphasis on gifting. Once again, this is a beautiful custom but it can be carried to the extreme so that we end up spending more than we should for gifts that may or may not really be wanted or appreciated. Take time to step back and look at these obligations and determine what really has meaning for you. Give yourself some grace to rest and enjoy the peace of God that comes to us at Christmas!
One last note – I am putting together a series of brief Advent devotionals on YouTube that you can listen to each day. They aren’t quite done yet, but I’m hereby committing to completing them. You can get to them at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9lwxSCLx0mCs5Rdjn0cfBk6Ru4OtWcR7. It won’t appear until Sunday, and after that, one video will appear each day. I did this last year at Atonement and there were some that found them useful, so I thought I’d try it again.
Wishing you a peaceful and joyous Christmas season!
Time is flying by! It is almost Thanksgiving, and Advent and Christmas follow closely on Thanksgiving’s heels. For those of us who are relatively well off, blessed with friends and family and comfort, it is a time when it is easy to get caught up in the whirl of activities and forget that there are those who are alone, hungry, and hurting. Remember those people in your prayers – we may not know anyone in that situation by name, but we can still pray for them.
Speaking of Advent, we will have Wednesday evening services during the four weeks of Advent. We will begin with a simple shared meal, followed by a simple service. The details are being worked out. More details to come!
At a time when there is so much going on, it is easy to forget to take time for quiet and renewal. Then we arrive at Christmas exhausted and dissatisfied. Take some time to reflect on the promise of the season. Take time to pay attention to the people around you and spread God’s love as far as you can.
If you are looking for an Advent devotional, here are some options:
The Season of Waiting (and Waiting … and Waiting) https://katebowler.com/advent2022/mc_cid=8bfdf78034&mc_eid=3efc08de6b
Fling Wide the Door https://www.luthersem.edu/godpause/advent-devotional/
First a few words of thanks –
Many thanks to all who brought food for the breakfast last Sunday – it was all delicious!
Many thanks to all who stepped up to lead in worship this past Sunday in light of Kathy’s unexpected absence – JoAnn Chambers, Debbie Stilson, Mary Ann Manning, and Tom Lee – it was greatly appreciated
The texts for this Sunday are not easy. It will be interesting, even to me, what turns up in the sermon. They may not be easy texts for the congregation to hear, but they are also difficult for the pastor to preach on, also.
I want to encourage you to pray for one another. Each week, the prayer requests are put in the bulletin. Take them home with you and pray for those listed there. Prayer makes a difference in people’s lives, and it is a way for us to love and support one another when there may not be much we can do to help. Especially remember those who are unable to attend church due to health or mobility issues.
We are approaching the holiday season, a busy time for the church as well as everyone else. By the time you read this, Thanksgiving will be less than two weeks away. Advent begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving. If you are wanting devotional material for Advent, you might consider using the materials put out by Luther Seminary as part of their daily GodPause devotionals. They are free, and you can either subscribe to the daily devotional (and get them all year) or you can download the pdf for the season. You can find more information and the downloads at https://www.luthersem.edu/godpause/advent-devotional/.
This coming Sunday we remember the cloud of witnesses that surrounds us – witnesses that have gone on before us and those who still surround us. The body of the church surrounds us, supporting us in our trials, rejoicing with us in our joys, comforting us in our grief, sharing in our life in the kin-dom of God.
You are invited to bring photos of your loved ones to be displayed on Sunday. We will light candles to help us remember the light that they brought into our lives during the service. We will feel their presence with us as we partake of the sacrament.
AND we will enjoy breakfast together before the service, starting at about 9:00!
It will be a full, joyous day as we celebrate our unity in Christ!