Advent, our season of preparation for the coming of Christ begins tomorrow. As we are experiencing a rise in COVID cases and a limitation in our ability to gather with others in so many areas of life, we are also approaching the shortest and darkest days of the year. This may well make our spiritual and emotional preparations for Christmas more difficult than they have been in the past.
This year, more than ever, it is good to remember that the Gospel for Christmas Day is the passage often called “the Prologue to John”, John 1:1-14. John describes Jesus as the Light that is coming into the world and says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Each day throughout Advent I will send a short meditation based on the theme of Christ as the Light in the darkness. I hope these meditations will offer you hope. A useful practice might also be to read the Prologue to John each day, perhaps at a different time and in a different place each day so that it become ingrained in your mind and heart.
I pray that this Advent may be filled with the Light of Christ for you and those you love. ~ VGM+
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. ~ Authorized Version/KJV
+ + + + + + +
Here are the announcements, and information for Sunday’s worship.
- Sunday Worship
- Annual Pledge Campaign
- Rummage Shoppe
- Bible Study – New Topic for Advent
- Advent Wreathes
10 am Service of the Word on Zoom, followed by Coffee Hour. The bulletin is linked to our home page. If you would like the Zoom link to attend, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bible Study this week is on Wed., Dec. 2 at 10:15 am. We are starting a new topic for Advent: the Old Testament readings for the Sundays of Advent which look forward to the birth of the Messiah. We’d love to have you and your friends participate in this Zoom class. For the link please e-mail Mother Vicki at email@example.com.
Thank you to Waring and Ben Webb and Matt Dalmedo for hanging the large wreath on the front of the Church yesterday, and to Stephanie Posella for putting the small wreathes on all our buildings last week. All Saints' now has its "Advent face" on!
All Saints’ Rummage Shoppe –Thank you to our Rummage volunteers and shoppers for our Black Friday sale (note: we now have our volunteers wearing N95 masks, as well as running our filtered ventilation). The Rummage Shoppe will remain open until December 11, so time is limited! Reserve a 30-minute shopping slot here: https://reopen.church/r/bloP83YN. Monday and Thursday afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday evening this week. Items are also being sold on-line here: https://www.facebook.com/AllSaintsRummageShoppe/.
Annual Pledge Campaign – Thank you to everyone who has returned a pledge commitment for 2021 so far, either by returning the hard-copy form or by using the on-line pledge form on our website. If you did not receive a pledge packet in the mail, or if you have a question on the status of your current 2020 pledge, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is your prayer and your pledge of financial support that makes the ministry and mission of All Saints’ happen. We know that we still have some challenging months ahead of us, and so we need everyone to participate. Thank you!
Christian Practices: Advent Wreaths
We normally have an Advent wreath in church to mark the progression of the four weeks of preparation for the Feast of the Nativity (aka Christmas), but the practice actually began as a home devotion. By the Middle Ages Christians had adapted and “baptized” what had been a Norse and Germanic pre-Christian practice of decorating wreathes with lit candles to anticipate the winter solstice.
In our modern use of a Christian Advent wreath we have four candles: three blue or purple, and one pink (for Week 3). Sometimes there is also a white candle in the center, representing Christ. There are several different symbolic meanings for each candle: Week 1 – hope; or the hope of God’s People in the Hebrew Scriptures. Week 2 – peace; or the Old Testament prophets; Week 3 – joy; or John the Baptist. Week 4 – love; or Mary the mother of Jesus.
What is the best way to make an Advent wreath? If you have a metal or wooden ring cut some evergreens and weave them into the ring. If you don’t have a form like this, arrange four candles in holders on a tray and add greenery. Or you can simply cluster four candles together on a table or sideboard as a focal point for your devotions. The important thing is to take the time to remember to look forward with hope and eager longing for the coming of Christ.
Each Sunday at dinner light the appropriate number of candles and have a short time of prayer and reflection as we await the coming of Christ, the Light of the world, both in celebrating his birth at Bethlehem and in looking for is coming at the end of the age. A simple set of Advent wreath prayers for your use can be found on our home page. A blessed Advent to you!