WAIT! Don’t Stop Reading! Trust a Little and Read On!
When I was a Christian Educator at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Evanston, IL, my love of Advent and Christmas was an annoyance to the rest of the staff. While they faced that time of year with part joy and part despair at the extra hours required, I arrived and put it on the staff meeting agendas beginning in August.
As I spoke about themes and coordinated events before kids even went back to school, they quietly poured more coffee and endured my enthusiasm. Once, I was told that when Advent and Christmas were discussed, I looked and sounded like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Well, get ready to bounce along with me at least for this part of the newsletter.
I know Halloween is just this week, and we haven’t gotten to Thanksgiving yet, but I want to introduce you to Advent 2023. Advent tends to get blurred and hurried by in our business of the Holiday Season. In order to experience a true spiritual advent, we need to be intentional about making room for Advent in our hearts and on our calendars. The information below is not meant to stress you and make you feel holiday responsibilities are coming at you. Instead, it is an intentional attempt to help you carve out space for God as you journey from Thanksgiving, through Advent, into Christmas (all 12 days), and Epiphany! Go through the list slowly and meditate on the experiences you can schedule to grow closer to God in this holy season. Put them on your calendar now and circle them with purple ink so that you remember to make time to grow closer to God this year.
I’m really not trying to hurry you. I am actually trying to help you slow down and not miss God in this Godly season.
Our Advent Theme for 2023!
How Does A Weary World Rejoice?
About the Series:
Christ was born into a weary world. King Herod ruled the land with a legacy of ruthlessness. The Romans treated the people of Israel with contempt, imposing harsh taxes and land seizures that forced many into subsistence farming. Poverty and destitution were pervasive. And yet, Christ was born, bringing good news of great joy for all people.
As Advent comes again to a weary world, we ask, “How does a weary world rejoice?” From the opening chapters of Luke’s Gospel, we have found a few answers: we acknowledge our weariness, we find joy in connection, we allow ourselves to be amazed, we sing stories of hope, we make room, we root ourselves in ritual, and most importantly, we trust our belovedness. In the parallel birth stories of Jesus and John, joy arrives—despite trepidation, fear, or grief. In these stories, we find rhythms for rejoicing. As we move through our series, we hope to create space for acknowledging the weariness of our world while celebrating God’s closeness with great joy.
And so, this Advent, we will hold space for our weariness and our joy. We will seek a “thrill of hope” in our hurting world. We will welcome joy—even if, like the prophet Isaiah, we cry out for comfort (Isaiah 40:1). In this weary world, may we find many ways to rejoice.
– Written by Sanctified Art
The Advent Journey Bible Classes
Please invite your friends and neighbors!
Rev. Yvette is leading two Classes, offered 3 times, so that hopefully many people can fit them into their lives. These classes focus on the journey of Biblical Characters in an effort for us to create a journey for ourselves. We will meet in the chapel and all you need to bring is a Bible, but even that can be provided for you. No prep work or homework required. Just make an hour or hour and 15 minutes to be in the presence of God. All classes will be in the chapel.
Class 1 – Offered 3 times
“Zechariah’s Journey from Mistrust to Conviction and Mary’s Journey from Tragedy to Resilience”
Sunday, November 26 at 11:15 AM
Tuesday, November 28 at 1:30 PM
Wednesday, November 29th at 6:30 PM
Class 2 Offered 3 Times
“The Magi’s Journey from Disappointment to True Treasure and Our Journey from Advent to Christmas and Epiphany”
Sunday, December 3 at 11:15 AM
Tuesday, December 5 at 1:30 PM
Wednesday, December 6 at 6:30PM
Note: Please sign up for the classes so that I can prepare! Sign-up sheets will be on a table near the coffee on Sundays beginning Sunday, November 5th OR you can register by calling the church office OR emailing Rev. Yvette at email@example.com.
A Special Advent Service for Those Journeying with Loss!
Please invite all you know who are mourning with loss this season!
Tuesday, December 12th at 7PM in the Chapel
“A Worship Service for the Weary”
Have you ever heard of a Blue Christmas or Longest Night Service? A Worship Service for the Weary is exactly that. It is a service for those who are journeying with loss this Advent and Christmas. For those who have experienced loss, the joy of the holiday season can often feel elusive and out of reach. As a result, churches around the world have adopted the practice of having a “Blue Christmas” service during the Advent Season. These services are designed to provide space for prayer, reflection, and remembrance amidst the twinkle lights and holiday hustle and bustle. Instead of calling this a “Blue Christmas” or “Longest Night Service,” we are calling this a “Service for the Weary,” inspired by our Advent Theme.
This service is for anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, recent or one made more difficult by the holidays. It is for those grieving a loss of relationship, maybe by divorce or breakdown of communication. Maybe it is a loss of relationship with yourself through mental illness or other health struggles. It is for those who want to grieve for the war torn Ukraine and Israel/Palestine areas of the world. It is for those who feel blue and for those who want to support those who are feeling that way.
Bring your grief, bring your weariness, bring your fatigue, and allow yourself a quiet space to reflect and draw near to God. We hope that this service will be a gift to individuals and the entire community alike, providing space of calm, quiet and healing. Please join Rev. Yvette, Jamie, and Diane for words, ritual, and music to sit with us right where we are.
Note: If you want to attend, but do not drive at night, please contact Rev. Yvette as several people have volunteered rides to others!
Sunday’s Leading to Advent, In Advent and Leading to Epiphany
Sunday, Nov, 26th at 10 AM
Reign of Christ Sunday with a ‘Taste of the Contemporary”
Formerly Called Christ the King Sunday, this date on the Christian Calendar serves as a bridge from the last Sunday of Ordinary Time to the beginning of Advent. Come celebrate the one thing that unifies all Christians-Christ is the true ruler of our lives and hearts.
Sunday, Dec 3 at 10 AM
The First Sunday of Advent – “We Acknowledge our Weariness”
We ask Zechariah’s Question about the entire world: “How can this be?”
Sunday, Dec 10 at 10 AM
The Second Sunday of Advent – “We Find Joy in Connection
Join our Choir in a celebration of the season along with a service of finding joy. Rev. Yvette will preach a short Devotion and the service will be the normal length.
Sunday, December 17 at 10 AM
The Third Sunday of Advent – “We Allow Ourselves to be Amazed!”
Join together with our Impact Group in celebrating the season. We often lament on the nationwide trend that has lessened our numbers in Sunday school. Join together in celebrating each participant and their connection to the church. Rev. Yvette with preach a short devotion on our theme and the service will be the normal length.
Sunday, December 24th at 10 AM
The Fourth Sunday of Advent – “We Sing Stories of Hope!”
We come together before Christmas to focus on Mary and Zechariah’s songs and stories of hope. We will end the service by joining to gather to sing “Joy to the World.” We know that many will be unable to attend our Christmas Eve service at 7 PM and we want to celebrate a moment of Christmas transition together!
Christmas Eve Celebration of Lessons & Carols, December 24th at 7 PM
We will celebrate the Birth of Christ with scripture, poetry, carols, and devotions.
Sunday, December 31st at 10 AM
Anna, Simeon, & Jesus at the Temple
Sunday, January 7 at 10 AM
The Celebration of Epiphany!