Advent and Christmas Services 2021

The Advent and Christmas Seasons at First Church – "Close to Home"

Special Music before Sunday Worship
Each Sunday in Advent (Nov. 28, Dec. 5, Dec. 12, Dec. 19) there will be special music in the sanctuary from 9:40-10:00 a.m. The music will be based on traditional Advent and Christmas music and will be a good way for you to calm yourself and focus on the meaning of the season as we move from darkness into light.

Sunday, December 5 – The Second Sunday of Advent – "Laying the Foundation" (Peace)
Luke 1:57-80 | Philippians 1:3-11

In the miraculous birth of John the Baptist, we see the foundation of what is to come. We see how interwoven his story is with Jesus' origin story. When Zechariah regains his voice, his imagination is also restored. He offers deep praise for God's tender mercy and casts a hopeful vision for his own child. He sings blessings into John's being. This lays the foundation for John's life. In turn, John will go on to prepare the way for Jesus who will guide us all in the way of peace.

In this week, we focus on making space—in our lives and our imaginations—for God's blessings to break through.

Sunday, December 12 – The Third Sunday of Advent – "A Home for All / A Spirit of Music" (Joy)
Luke 3:1-18 | Zephaniah 3:14-20

John the Baptist's good news sounds harsh, but he preaches a home for all— where inequities are banished, valleys are lifted up, and all have the resources they need for collective flourishing.

Ultimately, John's message is one of joy. We are called to collectively build and repair the structures of our society, knowing God is present among us. What we build should be a place with a large table and room for all.

Join us for this music focused Sunday filled with joy! The choir and you will sing some of our favorite anthems and carols such as "Do you Hear What I Hear", "The Carol of the Drums", "I Wonder as I Wander", "Night of Silence" with all of us singing "Silent Night.". Be prepared to hear handbells and other instruments.

Warm Fuzzies Collection– hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves to benefit those in our community connected with SCOW will be received during the Time for Children.

Thursday, December 16 – Ashlar Village Lessons and Carols – 7:00p.m.
An Ecumenical Christmas Worship Service in the Henry and Edythe Knapp Auditorium.

Sunday, December 19 – The Fourth Sunday of Advent – "Seeking Sanctuary" (Love)
Selected scripture texts in the tradition of Lessons and Carols.

Sanctuary and safe space is so crucial for everyone, especially the mother of Jesus and the son of God.

Sanctuary is anywhere God's love dwells freely and abundantly. Please join us for this family service of story and music in a spirit of love.
The children's handbells group will play and the adult handbell group as well.

Monday, December 20 – A Blue Christmas Service of Solace – 7:00p.m.

The winter solstice marks the shortest period of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.

Near this Longest Night, we will share a service of prayer, candlelight, and ritual reflection that focuses upon the challenges the holiday season can bring for those who have experienced losses of all kinds and those who are simply struggling to feel the "joy" of the season.
This is especially true for so many this year, so come away for a sacred time especially for you. You are in our prayers....

Friday, December 24 – Christmas Eve Worship at 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

5:00 p.m. – Intergenerational Family Service with a "Pop-up Pageant" for many to participate!

Join us for a fun Christmas worship celebration! There will be a Holy Family and a real "baby Jesus." Choirs will be singing and playing bells. We will end with a tableau of the "Nativity" and sing "Silent Night."

11:00 p.m. – A Service of Candlelight and Communion

Join us for this meditative time of worship. From 10:15 p.m. to 10: 45 p.m. there will be an extended prelude of contemporary and traditional songs.

At 11:00 p.m., the quiet and reflective service of Candlelight Communion will begin.
The sanctuary will be bathed in candlelight and we will share together in the Lord's Supper as midnight and Christmas Day approaches.

Sunday, December 26 – The First Sunday After Christmas
Join us for a casual intergenerational service of favorite carols and their stories as we continue to celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

Sunday, January 2 – Epiphany and Star Gift Sunday

We welcome you to our annual tradition of star gift words for the new year.
There will be an opportunity to reflect upon our words for 2021 and choose a new word for 2022. We will also share our generosity with community partners by bringing gifts of non-perishable food, toiletries, and other self-care items.

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