Merry Christmas Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is the last week of preparation for Christmas, your ministry staff have been running at full tilt to get everything prepared for the 4 services we have on Dec 24th – Christmas Eve! In case you missed it, we have a regular Sunday service ADVENT 4 – Love Sunday at 10:30. A Family Friendly Christmas Service -with costumes, gifts to unwrap, chance for movement, child safe candles – at 3pm which will also include the baptism for James Robert Murray grandson of Debbie & Robert Seymour. Our candlelight service will take place at 7pm; join us for this traditional Christmas Eve service. Wrapping up the day is our 11pm communion service as we welcome the Christ Child in this quiet and reflective service in the heart of the night. We hope to see you at one or more of these Services.
We said goodbye on Wednesday to Don McGuire, in a lovely service and we took a moment to remember both Don McGuire and Ena Stevens last Sunday morning. While we wish that death would take a break over the holiday season, the reality is that the great circle of life, birth and death are ever present. This is why with the joy of Jesus’ birth we often find ourselves also experiencing feelings of sadness and loss. Tonight (Thursday Dec 21st) a joint Blue Christmas/Longest Night service will be hosted at Wilmot United starting at 7pm. If you find this holiday you are needing some space to give voice to these feelings and seek hope in grief and sadness, then this service may be just what you need.
Last Sunday in church or this week in the mail you would have received a Christmas letter from the ministry team with Christmas wishes. If you didn’t receive a letter please check with our office to ensure we have your correct address on file. A special Christmas envelope was included on behalf of our finance committee as many have the practice of making a special Christmas offering. We would like to ask you to consider making a special offering this year. We are about to celebrate the greatest gift that God has ever given us, what better way to give thanks then to support our church so that we can continue to offer God’s love, grace and hope to our world.
As the end of the year is coming quickly, the financial committee would like to thank everyone for the support they have given to the church this year already and remind people that the deadline for meeting our budget and having donations count towards your 2017 charitable donation is by 11 a.m. on Dec 31st. Please ensure you have all your donations to the office on or before that date.
As we fast approach December 25th, Christmas Day we want to encourage you not to make it the final day in the Christmas season, but to embrace the traditional practice of December 25th being the first day of the 12 day Christmas season that follows Advent. We hope that you will take the 12 Days of Christmas to continue to Celebrate the Birth of Christ….keep the carol’s playing, offer special thanks to God for the gift of the Christ Child, seek to offer yourself as a gift to others as Christ is to us and maybe try showing up in an unexpected place to connect with others…all the way to end of the Christmas Season and beginning of Epiphany on January 6th! Don’t forget to join us on December 31st here at St. Paul’s for a joint Sunday service with Wilmot.
As we take these last steps to the manger let us pray:
“God the time is close at hand, to experience your coming into the world again. To listen to the old familiar story and open ourselves up to knowing that the love you expressed on that first Christmas day was not just for then but also for now. As we sing familiar carols, come to our hearts. As we unwrap gifts from below the Christmas tree, may we remember the greatest gift ever given. As we join with friends and family to celebrate, may the joy of this season break in on us again giving us a holy peace. Amen.”
Rev. Michelle and Rev. Richard
Bulletins for December 24th
10:30 A.M. Service – Advent 4: Love