Advent, Christmas and Christmas Eve will be different this year… It will BE JOYFUL and we will be TOGETHER! Now, it may not be as normal,but together we will create a new normal filled with all the Advent and Christmas traditions. This year, Christmas is all about OUTREACH -> Others (Loving Our Neighbor).Make it Simple. SIMPLY CHRISTMAS!
We may not be as busy in some ways this season, but we can be busy for creating experiences that demonstrate our love for others. I want to invite every person in our congregation to help me in some way. It may not be “gathering” or in-person sharing, but it can be a series of experiences that bring alive our mission of “GO BE THE CHURCH!”
This past month, we have been focusing on Thanks-living: Intentional Acts of Kindness. Personally, in our hard times in our family, we have been lifted up by the many cards, calls, letters, boxes and love shown to us! It has been such an uplift! I have enjoyed also hearing stories on how it has been uplifting for those who have been planning and carrying out“intentional acts of kindness.”
So, what will we be doing in December and leading up to Christmas, Advent & Christmas Eve? Like you, I have been asking that question and also praying about a VISION to share ith you and challenge us all to “GO BETHE CHURCH!” in this “different” 2020 holiday. I have been talking to other churches and pastors to get ideas that will be different and creative, but with a purpose – a God purpose and as an outreach to our neighbors!
Here is an Advent and Christmas mission that I would like to invite you into and to consider being a part. Like you, I have lots happening with and in my family this holiday – lots of stresses and pressures around health concerns and needs. So, I need your help in making this a reality and I invite you to join with me as the churchalive and reaching out. Since Christmas Eve is so important,let me start with that. This year, I (we)are planning a Candlelight Christmas Eve service ONLINE.
It will feature a number of adults and kids helping to create the service VIRTUALLY. I am looking for volunteers to read passages of scripture. I am looking for persons to light Advent candles. I am looking for kids to help me in telling the Christmas story and drawing some colorful pictures to make that story come alive! I am looking for persons to share musical talents through singing or playing an instrument.WE WILL EVEN INVITE FAMILIES TO SHARE A SHORT 20- to 30-SECOND CHRISTMAS BLESSING THAT WILL BE PART OF THE SERVICE (as space allows).
We will include everything we normally do on Christmas Eve, plus more… but doing it ahead of Christmas Eve. We will be asking people to read, sing, play, color, talk and light Advent candles in their own home and video it on their phone… then send the video to the pastor to assemble into a JOY-FILLED CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE!
We will preview it on Sunday evening, December 20th at 7 pm. (Bring your own candles to light at home.) We will then post the JOY-FILLED CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE online for persons to watch or share with family. Then on Christmas Eve at 7 pm we will offer a special ZOOM SERVICE which will allow you to share with family and friends as we light the Christmas Eve candles! You can share the link and invite others to join us…wherever you are.
Friday, November 27th through December 6th – This year, you can stop by the OUTSIDE of the church beginning on Friday, November 27th to pick up YOUR BAG of Advent candles and candles to light for Christmas Eve – A GIFT TO YOU! (You can also pick up a bag for those who cannot make it as an act of kindness – 0utreach!)Sunday, November 29th, the 1st Sunday of Advent – We are planning an ONLINE ZOOM CAROLING SUNDAY EVENING on November 29th –6 pm – The First Sunday of Advent. (Invite persons to join us!)
Sunday, December 6th, the 2nd Sunday of Advent – We are planning an ONLINE ZOOM CHRISTMAS COOKIE BAKING CLASS & GATHERING on Sunday evening – December 6th – 6 pm.Sunday, December 13th, the 3rd Sunday of Advent – We are planning a ZOOM SANTA BLESSING & SHARING WITH SANTA EVENT on Sunday, December 13th from 6 to 7 pm – You can join us and listen to the kids –enjoy all those gathering – as Santa listens to “What you want for Christmas” and then offers a Christmas blessing on each person. Fun for all! Also “The Christmas Story” Trivia Test! Open to any and all kids and adults. OUTREACH: Invite your family and friends. Mrs. Claus and Santa will be present – and word has it…maybe a reindeer!
Sunday, December 20th, the 4th Sunday of Advent – We will have our Sunday Christmas service in the morning and then PREVIEW the JOY-FILLED CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE on Sunday evening, December20th at 7 pm. (Bring your own candles to light at home.) We will then post the service online for everyone to watch or share with family. Then on
Christmas Eve,Thursday, Dec. 24th at 7 pm, we will offer a special ZOOM SERVICE which will allow you to share with family and friends as we light the Christmas Eve candles! We hope you will share the link and invite others to join us wherever they may be.Email the Pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org to help out with any of these events. ALSO, VOLUNTEER NOW (to help the pastor prepare ahead of time) in telling the Christmas story and drawing some colorful pictures to make that story come alive! Don’t forget that I am looking for persons to share musical talents – singing or playing an instrument, and also share a short 20- to 30- second CHRISTMAS BLESSING that we will use as part of the service (as space allows). You will receive a script and simply read it or record it on your phone and send the short VIDEO you recorded on your phone to the PASTOR. Questions? Contact the Pastor at email@example.com or cell: 515-418-0807.GO BE THE CHURCH! Emmanuel:
God is with us!