Advent and Christmas 2018

Our worship during the 2018 Advent season focused on the 200th anniversary of the beloved hymn, "Silent Night."

On Sunday mornings, we took time away from the hustle and bustle and gave attention to the deep meaning of the season. We were immersed in candlelight and the peace, joy, love, and hope that is found in Jesus Christ.

Our worship series creator was Marcia McFee. Here are some words that she has shared with us about this special series and its potential meaning for our lives during these holidays and beyond:

"The classic hymn, "Silent Night," first made its debut on Christmas Eve, 1818 at the St. Nicholas chapel in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. The melody by composer Franz Gruber is instantly recognizable from the first few notes, and the original text by Joseph Mohr has been translated from the original German into over 140 languages.

"In 1914, just four years shy of the 100th anniversary of "Silent Night," the soldiers fighting World War I along the Western Front held a ceasefire in some areas out of mutual respect for the holiday. Members from opposing sides exchanged gifts and stories with one another, played games, and sang Christmas carols together, including the beloved hymn "Silent Night."

"Today, churches all over the world gather together each year on Christmas Eve to light candles, sing "Silent Night," and participate in a timeless tradition of inimitable ritual power."

At the time of this writing in 2018, our communities, our churches, and our world are torn and divided about many issues,  and sometimes we feel that hope, peace, love, and light are missing from our lives.

Perhaps this Christmas could be a time of ceasefire from our own sources of conflict. Perhaps this year, we will raise our voices in song to celebrate the birth of Christ with spirits of peace and love that transcends all barriers.

Oh, that it could be so. It does begin with each of us in every moment. As we approach the threshold of a new year, we pray that it could be one that builds up our world through relationship, connection, hospitality, community, and imaginative discovery.

May you walk in the light of God throughout the year.

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