As you might imagine, planning for Advent and Christmas began a few months ago, and still I’m always surprised when Thanksgiving rolls around. How have the holidays arrived so soon? It feels like we just celebrated Gathering In Sunday a few weeks ago. Yet here we are, with all the signs and symbols pointing toward holidays and holy days.
I know it’s still a little early to talk about Advent (which begins on December 3 this year), but there are some events you’ll want to have on your calendar now, as you begin to plan your month. First, I hope you’ll join us in the Social Hall for a Breakfast Worship of gratitude this coming Sunday, November 19 at 10:00 am (in person and Zoom only, not Facebook). Yes, it’ll be noisy and a bit chaotic, and hopefully full of the best of family-like connection.
Then, on Tuesday, November 21 from 2:00-6:00 pm (drop in any time) we have an all-church art invitation to paint banners for Advent and Christmas. We’ll create a ‘choir of angels’ to hang in the sanctuary throughout the season. Thanks to local artist (and church vice-moderator) Scott Ward for guiding us! Wear your best painting clothes and come ready to create. All ages and abilities are welcome.
Those of you who’ve attended First Congregational for several years may remember our Christmas Presence tradition of building graham cracker creations (think: off-brand gingerbread houses) in the Social Hall after worship. This year Christmas Presence will be on Sunday, December 3, and we hope to have lots of folk sharing your talents for building (if you have an empty milk carton to bring, it might be useful for structural integrity). J
Our beloved children’s pageant will take place during worship on Sunday, December 10, and every youngster (and any friends you bring with you) is welcome to come at 9:30 am to choose a costume and take part—no pageant practice necessary.1 The Village Books book sale will also take place on December 10, after worship in the Social Hall.
Some special services you won’t want to miss are Blue Christmas (for anyone wanting to attend a service that acknowledges that not everything is “merry and bright” right now—7:00 pm Wednesday, December 20 in the Sanctuary and Zoom, but not Facebook); the vocal group Vox Antiqua singing the “O Antiphons” (7:00 pm Saturday, December 23 in the Sanctuary); and Christmas Eve services (5:00 pm and 11:00 pm on Sunday, December 24).
That’s a lot, so choose which pieces feel right for you or your family. You never know what meaning you will find in an event, and you never know what you will mean to others. God has given us community, so in this season of holy days and holidays, may you find the blessings present for you.
1Our worship services are streamed live, so we will have video waivers for parents/guardians to sign. If you’d like you child not shown on the video, we will find places in the sanctuary for them to participate without being filmed.