Advent is Upon Us

Brothers and sisters,

It is incredible to think that Advent is already upon us! This coming Sunday, November 27th is the first Sunday of Advent. It is the first Sunday that we begin to turn toward the manger and anticipate the arrival of the Christ child. And so, as this season begins, I wanted to take some time to describe the various services we will be having this year as part of our celebration and anticipation.

The first special service we will be having is this Sunday, November 27th during morning worship! This will be our annual Hanging of the Greens service. This is a service that is designed to formally finish up the decorating of the church for Advent and Christmas. Through readings, responses, and prayers we will meditate on all the various symbols we adorn the church with each year.

The second special service we’ll be having this year is our Service of Lament on Wednesday, December 14th at 6:30 PM. The Service of Lament is designed to be a time when we come together as a church family to acknowledge that some of us are carrying grief into the holidays. For some, this is their first Christmas without a loved one. For some, there may be a lot of strain on their relationships. Others may be feeling a sense of anxiety, depression, or both. At this service, we will carve out time and space to be with our brothers and sisters to remind them that they are always loved and that we, their church family, are willing to help them bear their burdens.

Then, on Sunday, December 18th at 5:00 PM, we will be having our special musical service, “God Bless Us, Everyone!” Kathryn, the choir, and all our wonderful musicians here at Hope Valley have been preparing and practicing for this service for weeks now and it promises to be a joyous service of singing and celebration! In addition to all the beautiful music, we will be having a reception after-ward as a time of fellowship as we enter the last week of Advent.

Next, we will be having our yearly Christmas Eve Candlelight and Communion Service on Saturday, December 24th at 5:00 in our sanctuary. This is also a wonderful service as we come to perhaps the most exciting night of the year! It is a service where we come and declare our joy and gratitude for the message of Christmas—that God came and dwelt among us. Be sure to bring your family as we take communion together and light candles to celebrate the joy of Christmas.

Finally, the next morning—Christmas morning!—we will be having morning worship at 11:00 AM in our sanctuary. There will be no Sunday School that morning, but we will take time to come together and worship God as a church family. And, to the parents reading this, if your child needs/wants to bring their favorite present with them to worship that morning, they are more than welcome to do that!

I am looking forward to this next month of worship with you all! I’m looking forward to the time spent in fellowship as we anticipate, once again, the birth of Jesus and the reminder of God’s promise—that God will always be with us.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Ben