We’re entering the holy season of Advent, a time of preparation and reflection. We prepare not only for our family Christmas celebrations but also for the ways in which God continues to bring hope, peace, joy, and love into our lives. Every Sunday we light candles to signify our openness of these gifts God wants to give us. We are afforded the opportunity to think deeply about what changes we may have to make in order to be more hopeful, to find a sense of peace – even when things around us seem so chaotic, to discover an inner joy that is rooted in something deeper than the external circumstances in which we find ourselves. And we consider what it means to expand our hearts in love, to be more loving in our interactions with others.
We have a number of activities throughout Advent to reinforce these deep themes. I hope you will pay particular attention to this issue of the Carillon to discover all the wonderful things we have in store.
Saturday, December 2: Decorating the Church for Christmas in the morning (beginning at 9:00 a.m.) – all are welcome to help – and a Float in the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade in the evening (beginning at 6:00 p.m.) Juniper Greens are still needed for the sanctuary wreaths (Please give John Burt a call at (562) 896-4238 if you have juniper bushes that could be trimmed).
Sunday, December 3: Lighting the Candle of Hope. Pick up an Advent Devotional for your spiritual reflections.
Sunday, December 10: Lighting the Candle of Peace. Children’s Christmas Program during worship, “Light of the World” – Through narration, drama, original and familiar carols in many languages and using a variety of instruments, our Children’s Choir will present their annual Christmas musical and share how Jesus came to be the Light of the world. Justin Rudd’s Brass Christmas Concert in the evening.
Sunday, December 17: Lighting the Candle of Joy. Chancel Choir Cantata during worship, “Sing and Rejoice” – Featuring the music of John Rutter, and narration by members of our Chancel Choir with special guest Jay Dysart, our Christmas cantata tells the story of the Magi’s journey to visit the Christ Child. Robert York and ten brass and percussion musicians will join us for this annual celebration of word and song.
Sunday, December 24: Lighting the Candle of Love. Morning Worship at 9:30. Three Candlelight Christmas Eve Services at 5:00 pm (recital begins at 4:30); 7:30 pm and 10:00 pm (communion will be served at this service).