Advent

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Advent – Week of Joy

 

“Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.” During the season of Advent, we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world and watch with expectant hope for his coming again. In its historical origins, the season of Advent was patterned after the season of Lent, a six-week period of penitence and preparation for Easter. Similarly, the four weeks of Advent present an opportunity for communal discernment and personal examination, as the church prepares to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord and looks with hope for Christ’s return. (From the PC(USA) office of Theology and Worship)

Once again we meet John the Baptist, who offers the same question to Jesus that we would—”Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

 

We’re in the season of waiting. We wait for holidays and celebrations; and we wait for earnings reports and test results. We wait for the good things that will enliven our holidays; and we wait for those things we worry will take away from any kind of joy we hope Jesus has come to bring. We have specific dreams in mind that we’re waiting for, those things we just know will make everything turn out alright. And then, we remember that the world doesn’t revolve around us and, thanks be to God, Jesus offers something more: “Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.’” Why would we wait for anything else?

Sunday, December 15

Adult Sunday School
Miller Room
9:15 a.m.

Children’s Pageant Rehearsal
FPC Sanctuary
9:45 a.m.

Fellowship
Commons
10:00 a.m.

Worship – Children’s Christmas Pageant
Sanctuary
10:30 a.m.

Monday, December 16
Morning Prayers
Library
9:30 a.m.

Bible Study
Library
10:00 a.m.

Thursday, December 19
Women’s Christmas Fellowship
Kathryn Seller’s Home
4:30-7:00 p.m.

Presbyterians at the Pub
Dalton Brewing Company
5:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 21
Young Adult Christmas Party
The Granillo’s Home
6:00 p.m.

Advent – Week of Joy2020-09-08T16:05:16-05:00

Advent – Week of Peace

“Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.” During the season of Advent, we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world and watch with expectant hope for his coming again. In its historical origins, the season of Advent was patterned after the season of Lent, a six-week period of penitence and preparation for Easter. Similarly, the four weeks of Advent present an opportunity for communal discernment and personal examination, as the church prepares to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord and looks with hope for Christ’s return. (From the PC(USA) office of Theology and Worship)

Every year John the Baptist shows up in our preparations for Christmas by calling us to repentance. The root of that word “repentance” means turning—now is the time to turn back to God. We do this through practice of scripture reading, prayer, and confession. We do this through worship and service. Above all we do this with God’s help. The prophets encourage us to turn because, in Jesus, God has promised to meet us in a new way. As we turn towards God, God is always turning towards us.

Sunday, December 8

Adult Sunday School
Miller Room
9:15 a.m.

Children’s Choir Rehearsal
FPC Sanctuary 
9:15 a.m.

Children’s Pageant Rehearsal
FPC Sanctuary
9:45 a.m.

Fellowship
Commons
10:00 a.m.

Worship
Sanctuary
10:30 a.m.

Monday, December 9
Morning Prayers
Library
9:30 a.m.

Bible Study
Library
10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, December 10
Book of the Month Club
Blue Ridge Elementary School
9:00-10:30 a.m.

Thursday, December 12
Presbyterians at the Pub
Dalton Brewing Company
5:00 p.m.

Advent – Week of Peace2020-09-08T16:05:16-05:00

Advent – Week of Hope

“Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.” During the season of Advent, we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world and watch with expectant hope for his coming again. In its historical origins, the season of Advent was patterned after the season of Lent, a six-week period of penitence and preparation for Easter. Similarly, the four weeks of Advent present an opportunity for communal discernment and personal examination, as the church prepares to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord and looks with hope for Christ’s return. (From the PC(USA) office of Theology and Worship)

Jesus tells his disciples, “keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” Advent is the promise that God is coming in Jesus Christ in the midst of our lives of work and family, joy and grief, health and illness, hope and disappointment. We don’t always know what that looks like; and so Jesus’ promise is less a description of how this works and more an encouragement for our hope. We are people who live in light of this promise, who commit to practices of prayer, worship, and service, anticipating God coming into our midst. Jesus encourages us to watch and wait. How are you waiting? How are you preparing for God’s coming this year?

Sunday, December 1

Sunday School
FPC
9:15 a.m.

Fellowship
Commons
10:00 a.m.

Worship
Sanctuary
10:30 a.m.

Advent Compline
Sanctuary
7:00 p.m.

Monday, December 2
Morning Prayers
Library
9:30 a.m.

Bible Study
Library
10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, December 4
Hanging of the Greens
Martin House
9:30 a.m.

Thursday, December 5
Presbyterians at the Pub
Dalton Brewing Company
5:00 p.m.

Advent – Week of Hope2020-09-08T16:05:16-05:00

Journey to Bethlehem By: Rev. Will Scott

Are you travelling for Christmas this year? Or did you just get home from a Thanksgiving trip? Maybe it’s appropriate that we travel so much this time of year remembering, as we do, Mary and Joseph journeying to Bethlehem, racing against time to find a safe place to welcome baby Jesus.

In the coming season of Advent we are waiting for Jesus, too. Each day of the calendar is like another step towards the manger: another step towards feasts with family; another step towards gifts of love; another step towards the announcement of angels: “I bring you good tidings of great joy.”  The season has its share of detours—a monthlong cavalcade of parties and obligations, office functions and community events. But, in the end, all roads lead to Bethlehem.

The journey is not unlike a labyrinth. It’s like a maze with twists and turns, but always returning to the right way, and always ending up in the center. In Christian history, the labyrinth was a way that cathedrals could offer pilgrimages for people—journeys with God—even though many could not travel far away. The labyrinth symbolizes that we are all on such a pilgrimage.

This is how we would like to represent our Advent journey this year. Our liturgical arts team has created a labyrinth to help guide our prayers and preparations for Christmas. We hope you will join us on Sunday, December 2 at 5:00 PM in the fellowship hall. There we’ll enjoy food and fellowship, and then an opportunity to explore the labyrinth, led by the Rev. Julie Johnson, a spiritual director with extensive training in the spirituality of labyrinths. The labyrinth will be available for use in the sanctuary during the week; but with special resources available on Tuesday evenings in December. Come find the center of our journey as we prepare for God’s gift to us in Jesus.

Peace,

 

 

 

Will

Journey to Bethlehem By: Rev. Will Scott2020-09-08T16:05:18-05:00

Advent Preparation By: Walter Jones

Titus is a small book, scarcely longer than this blog post, found late in the New Testament.

In this letter, Paul writes to his “loyal friend in the faith” to remind Titus of his role in the spreading of the Gospel, the great good news of Jesus Christ.

This week’s four verses, 2:11-14, speak directly to the impact that the appearing of Jesus should have upon each of us as his followers. As Christ brings us salvation and redeems us from all iniquity, his intent is to “purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.”

In today’s world, we too often see “zeal” in the extremes of behavior. One can become convinced that zeal means loud, aggressive, intolerant, even vengeful. By contrast, Christians are called to “lives that are self-controlled, upright and godly.” Sounds very Presbyterian to me.

Fresh from the Christmas pageant, we are mindful of the gifts that wise folk brought to Christ at his first appearance. But more than frankincense or myrrh, more even than much fine gold, Paul urges us to present in ourselves the virtues that reflect our gratitude to God and that identify to an increasingly self-centered and destructively-partisan world what Christ would have us be: people of integrity, gravity, and sound speech, hospitable, honest and humble in our identity with all God’s children, kind and loving and devoted to good works.

As any day can be an Advent,

 be the gift you want to present … when Jesus comes again.

Advent Preparation By: Walter Jones2020-09-08T16:05:26-05:00
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