Advent & Christmas Weekly Worship Themes
November 28 - December 26 | FPC
The pandemic has laid bare, and widened, economic disparity locally and globally. As we enter the Advent season, how can our churches become houses where the Holy will be born anew–offering respite, sustenance and care, opening the doors ever wider to those seeking shelter from the onslaught of life? No one church can do it all, but each can do something. As we study the biblical prophets that call us to care for our neighbors and “make room in the inn,” the lonely and frightened spaces within us are filled with the light of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
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November 28: First Sunday of Advent
“Making Room (Hope)”
We usually associate fasting with Lent, but the Eastern Church observes a “Nativity Fast” in preparation for the birth of Christ, understanding fasting as a way to “make more room” for the Holy and shift our focus to care of the neighbor. In a time when so many are suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic, we are invited this year to create room for more hope in the world as we learn to reallocate and multiply resources in ways that are just and right.
December 5: Second Sunday of Advent
“A Place at the Table (Peace)”
Like the childhood game of “musical chairs,” we are convinced that there are not enough places at the table. And so we shrink the guest list just in case there is not enough, and we scramble to occupy the chairs first. And yet our sacred texts invite us to imagine and make real the gathering of all people to the table, robed in the garments of a Peace that comes with justice. This is what really matters– this is the fruit of what is right and good.
December 12: Third Sunday of Advent
“How Much is Enough? (Joy)”
As John baptized new converts, he invited them to live with “changed hearts and lives.” When asked how to do that, his answers all point to making sure no one is cheated or left without the basic necessities of life, including the right to not be harassed. A full life of joy, which the prophet Isaiah describes as an everflowing spring, is the birthright of all children of God. May we act to make it so.
December 19: Fourth Sunday of Advent
“A Room with a View (Love)”
This has been an Advent season of prophets: Jeremiah, Baruch, Isaiah, Micah. And now the prophet is Mary–the woman who was the original house for the holy. She was “the inn,” her womb gestating love for the world. With all her heart, she proclaims that the lowly are lifted, the hungry are fed, mercy reigns. Like Mary, we must envision, must see, must prophesy and act on that vision for the world that God continues to call us to co-create. What is the view from the room that God has prepared?
December 24: Christmas Eve
The Inn is now open for business. The long-awaited Messiah has been born and on him the light shines. We have only to open the doors of our lives and to say “welcome.” Our Advent journey has led us to this moment when the light shining through a closed door becomes one opened to new possibilities, new relationships. What a poignant moment for us this year as the light–the hope, peace, joy and love–multiplies from one illuminated heart and hand to another.
December 26: First Sunday of Christmas
Developed in the 14th century, the word “dwell” became known as a “lingering” or “abiding.” It had connections to “in-habit”–another word developed at that time. After an Advent/Christmas season of focusing on housing the holy, how will we linger and abide in this habit of hospitality? What habits did you invite into your heart in this season that you desire to take with you into the new year? How might we sustain the dwelling places that feed, house, clothe those who need it most?