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Advent - Love
December 16, 2020, 11:44 AM

Dear Friends,

We come to the fourth Sunday of Advent anticipating our celebration of Christ’s birthday once again in just a few days. It is a different kind of birthday celebration than anyone else’s because we retell the events of the birth, share some of the events surrounding it that make it so unique, and reflect upon how this one birth in darkness and obscurity so long ago became the preeminent event in human history. We join with one another, not to sing “Happy Birthday”, but to sing hymns and Carols written through the centuries to honor the gift God has given to all of us in this baby’s birth. Not only do we retell the story – we attempt to reenact it publicly, festively, and reverently so that it can no longer be a quiet or obscure event. 

Christmas is now nearly a global event, recognized, if not celebrated by millions of people for at least 1500 years (since Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire). At some point in history, gift giving became an associated tradition with the Christmas celebration (perhaps emulating the Magi bringing gifts to the young Jesus) which evolved into a massive marketing and retail season for businesses and consumers. This makes it difficult to focus on just the action of God, even for Christians, when most all of us are also caught up in its’ commercialization. We have come to expect Christmas Carols and Christmas trees in stores right after Halloween and are sometimes even tired of hearing Carols even before Christmas arrives.

Now, Christmas 2020, presents us with new challenges like how to do Christmas together while physically apart. Given these challenges, we have been creative in our planning and are excited to share new experiences with our congregation and community! First up is this Saturday for Cookies, Carols, and Cocoa, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Zoom (the log on information is here in the newsletter) and everyone is invited to share in this fellowship event. [You are bringing your own Hot Cocoa and Cookies!] On Christmas Eve, in lieu of our normal in Sanctuary Service, we are planning a drive-through Nativity Experience that we hope will be inviting for the community, as well. We are planning to have this open from 5:30 – 7 p.m. so folks can stay in their cars yet share in the Nativity Story. Besides sharing a bulletin(s) with every vehicle, we will also share Communion with them and a glow stick so their light may shine in the world as they leave. At 7:30, we will close the evening in a Zoom worship service of Scripture, Carols, Communion and Candlelight for folks to have something of a similar experience to our normal Sanctuary Christmas Eve Service. Each of our Christmas opportunities are intended to call us into remembrance of what God has done for us through Jesus. I hope you will plan to be a part of each of these, and to invite your family and friends to join you, as well!

Appropriately, we light the fourth Advent Candle of LOVE this Sunday. Not only is it what Jesus taught his followers, it is also the reason God gave him to the world. God’s love for us and creation is expansive and deep, and sacrificial. Jesus’ birth introduced a new era of the God-human relationship. We light the Love Candle Sunday to both honor God’s action in our midst and to remind ourselves to live fully in that love each day with God and each other. 

Join us Sunday for a time of remembering, celebration, and gratitude for the invitation to be God’s children in the world today! 

In Christ’s service together wherever He leads,

David