This Sunday, 12/15, we’ll hold our annual Nativity Pageant during worship. There will be a plethora of small sheep and angels, six-month-old Alexander will play Baby Jesus, and Derry Allen will engineer the Christmas Star. Any visiting children are welcome to participate—just arrive by 9:15, when we’ll distribute costumes and hold the one rehearsal of our “no rehearse” pageant.
As I preached last Sunday, the Nativity Story is not a “feel-good narrative about rosy cheeked infants and Hallmark angels. It’s a gritty, subversive tale about Good News coming in the form of a dirt-poor child born in a structure housing farm animals…” And, while there’s no question our pageant will be “cute” (because our children certainly are!), it will also proclaim the powerful message that the “first shall be last and the last shall be first”—and that a baby with the humblest of origins can be the One for whom the world awaits.
After worship and the pageant, we’ll enjoy a Cookie Potluck during Coffee Hour. Please bring your favorite holiday treat (with a recipe to share, if you’d like). In addition, I’ll bring supplies to create Christmas Kits filled with socks, treats, etc. for our neighbors experiencing homelessness. I hope you’ll join me in creating dozens of kits for our congregation to give out over the holidays.
Finally, I encourage you to attend our Advent Taizé Service next Tuesday, 12/17, at 7 pm. This beautiful candlelit service of prayer and chant is a wonderful opportunity to hold the deep joy as well as sorrow or grief some of us experience this time of year. If you’d like to learn/practice a few of the simple chants before the service, please join us at 6:45 pm.
I close with this poem by Madeline L’Engle, written for Christmas, 1973:
The Risk of Birth
This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war and hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out and the sun burns late.
That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour and truth were trampled by scorn—
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.
When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn—
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.
Wishing you every blessing of the Season,
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
2020 Stewardship Campaign: Reaching In, Reaching Out— THANK YOU to everyone who has made their 2020 pledge! If you haven’t yet submitted your pledge card, please do so. You can also submit an electronic pledge card, or email your pledge information to Robert Glass, Financial Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas Pageant and Cookie Potluck, 12/15—Our regular worship service will include the annual Nativity Pageant. All children and youth (including visiting family and friends) are invited to participate. We’ll host a Cookie Potluck for Coffee Hour, so please bring your favorite holiday treat!
Advent Taizé Service, 12/17—You’re invited to gather in the sanctuary at 7 pm for a beautiful, candlelit service of prayer and chant. If this time of year holds grief as well as joy for you, this service will honor both. Please arrive at 6:45 pm if you’d like to learn some of the chants before the service begins at 7.
Poetry, Lessons, & Carols Service, 12/22—We’ll celebrate the coming birth of Christ with a service of poetry, scripture and song. There will be no Sunday School, but children are warmly welcome in the service. The Nursery will be open for babies and toddlers.
Christmas Eve Potluck and Fireside Service, 12/24— If you’d like to gather in the parlor for a Christmas Eve Potluck at 5:45 pm, RSVP: email@example.com. Our cozy Fireside Service of traditional Lessons and Carols will begin at 7:30 pm.
Year’s End Service, 12/29—Join Pastor Ellen in the parlor for an informal service focused on our own year’s end. What are the joys we have celebrated, the concerns we have endured? How has this year shaped us, and in what ways have we changed and grown?