Brothers and Sisters Advent Joy to you this weekend!
We take one more step towards Bethlehem this weekend as we celebrate the 3rd Sunday in Advent. This Sunday we light the candle for “Joy”. Now this candle is not purple like the others, it is pink. So why is this candle pink? Well to understand this we need to go back to the first Advent which was introduced back in the 5th Century. At that time it was seen as a mini Lent, with its penitential themes and the use of the colour purple signifying royalty. This Sunday is sometimes referred to as Gaudete Sunday because the introit for the mass which begins “Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete” meaning “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice.” This Sunday was to be a respite from the pennant themes. In the years since that first Advent there has been a shift in the focus of the season to waiting, and blue has been introduced as a way to distinguish the season of Advent from Lent. Despite these changes, the rose coloured candle still endures as we mark this Sunday of Joy.
Speaking of Joy. That is the tittle of the CD released on Wednesday at the Advent recital by our own Dr. Sharon Pond. This CD features our amazing organ and all proceeds of the CD will be going to support the ministry of our church. This is a great gift or stocking stuffer for anyone who loves St. Paul’s, organ music and Christmas. CD’s are $20 and available after service on Sunday or through the office. Join us on Sunday for a preview of the CD which will be played as our offertory.
Our music department has one more amazing Christmas event planned for us this Friday. Join us at 7pm for a reading of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas with Tim Yerxa and music by Vocal Collective, Sharon Pond and Alexis Ervin. Looking forward to seeing you Friday. A Free Will Offering will be received
Are you or someone you love in middle school or high school. If so, make sure they know about the youth Christmas gathering Friday, Dec. 22 and we will start off our gathering with a potluck at 5:30 (note the time change from our regular meeting). We will share a meal, Christmas Cheer, gingerbread house building and trivia contest. Please confirm your attendance with Rev. Michelle.
While this time of year is about joy, we understand that for some this holiday season can be hard to face. If you have lost someone this year who is important to you or if you are struggling to make ends meet, or processing a new medical diagnosis or walking with a loved one while they face struggles you may feel out of step with the holiday cheer. If this is the case for you, know that you are not alone. Many people find the holidays particularly hard. If you are feeling this way, the Longest Night/Blue Christmas service may be respite for your soul. This service is designed for those who are finding that the holidays are tinged with grief and stress. Held on the longest night of the year, this service creates space for the darkness and sadness that can be present in this season and then offers words of hope rooted in our faith and scripture. This quiet service is open to anyone who might be feeling a little blue this year, it is a shared service with our brothers and sisters at Wilmot United. This year the service will take place on December 21, 7pm at Wilmot United Church. If you are needing a break from all the holiday hype, this service may just be the thing you need.
For this Sunday we hear from the prophet Isaiah 55:1-13, a reading that comes probably from the time when captives were returning from Babylon after being in exile for 50 years. Starting out with inviting the thirsty to come and drink for free and ending with the trees clapping their hands as good grows from the ground. This week’s passage uses many images to convey the hope the returnees had as they returned home, even as they discovered that life would not be as easy as they had planned. Yet God was still with them.
God of Joy. In these long nights of winter, in the rain and snow, you cause us to pause and reflect. As our TVs and surrounding culture push us into thinking about what we want and hope to gain. You call us to stop and look around us at the blessings we have received and the blessings we have to share. It is life lived in gratitude to you that brings us true joy. As we take one step closer to Christmas, may we hold the gift of the Christ Child in our hearts and remember the life he lived to set us free and return us to your presence. This we pray in His name, Amen.
Blessings on this week,
Rev Michelle and Rev. Richard
Also the bulletin is available for download fromhere.