Friday, December 16 2022
“With every fiber of my being I hope and pray this morning to convey this message and this hope: the Son of God is born of Mary. Listen: many of you, most of you this morning, are already believers. You have already heard and obeyed, like Mary. You know that God is really God, and not some vain and wish fulfilling projection of ourselves onto an abstract figure in the sky….But somewhere deep down in each one is a lost and frightened child who has lost its way, who has been rejected by its father, who has been shut out of the party. Who is truly afraid-deep down-that ashes are all we will get for Christmas. Help us you who believe-help us spread the word, in carols, in bells, in lights, in prayers, in presents, in words, deeds, and love, that the Father has come seeking for all his children, that he has a place set at his table with your name on it, that he will deliver us from numbness and from fear and from guilt so that we will be able to reach out with joy and gladness to those who have not heard.” (Fleming Rutledge)
The word Advent comes from the Latin word Adventus: "Coming." Advent is a time of preparation and awareness of the coming of Jesus Christ. We know this season best for getting ready for Christmas. We buy presents for those we love, decorate our houses, put up Christmas trees, bake cookies, send out Christmas cards, and get together with our friends and co-workers for food, drink and fellowship.
As we at St. John's prepare, we will have a rehearsal for our Christmas Pageant on Saturday, December 17th at 9:00 am. On Sunday December 18th at 10:00 am, our children will perform our Christmas Pageant. After the 8:00 am Sunday service, we will green the church during the coffee hour. Please join us! Christmas Eve Services will be at 4:00 pm (family service), 7:00 pm (candlelit service with beautiful music and the St. John’s choir) and 10:00 pm (Rite I HE with wonderful music and solos). Our Christmas Day service will be at 10:00 am and will also have beautiful music.
Advent is also the time of the year when we help those in need. We give not only to our loved ones, but also to those beyond those boundaries, those in our communities, and strangers. Thank you to the ECW and everyone who has helped out with our food drives, HIHI homeless ministry, and Adopt-a-Family. There is a meeting of the ECW this Sunday after the 10:00 service to determine outreach for 2023. With all of that we have to do at this time of year, sometimes we forget to quietly await the coming of Jesus Christ in our own hearts.
“Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Collect for the 4th Sunday in Advent)
One of the greatest surprises in the story of God’s coming into our midst is that God did not choose a queen or a princess to be the mother of God’s Son. In fact, God chose a very unlikely person. Instead of choosing royalty from a high and mighty family, God chose a lowly maid. In a period of history that emphasized the importance of age, God chose a young virgin. In an empire where wealth was power, God chose a poor servant, betrothed to a Jewish carpenter. In a patriarchal society where men controlled everything, God comes to Mary. So it was in a small, unimportant town named Nazareth, in an insignificant province of the Roman Empire, that God sent an angel. The angel Gabriel comes and
The prophet says to Joseph, “Look the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel, which means God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
In Christ’s love,