Advent is a time marked by waiting. We are waiting for God to make things right. We are waiting for Jesus to return. We are waiting for so much in our individual lives, and in the hurting world we live in. The anticipation of Christmas is often filled with busyness, fatigue, and longing. We are longing for something like the perfect Christmas. What is underneath that longing? As Christians, our waiting and longing is marked by hope and peace, love, and joy. This Advent, join us as we reflect on our actual lives—all that is good and hard--and practice blessing these lives together. Together we'll pray, "Come, Lord Jesus, set us free to live our actual lives. Release us from our sins, our fears, and let us find our rest in You". free resource from author and professor Kate Bowler as a daily devotional. It has a short reflection on the same theme that we'll use in worship, as well as a practice you can do together with your family or small group, and a blessing for each day. You're also welcome to pick up a copy of Kate's book "The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days" to use alongside the daily devotional. This Advent, in addition to joining our community in worship each Sunday morning, as individuals and families, you're invited to use this
Advent 1: December 3, 2023 - Hope as Protest
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. —ISAIAH 40:30-31 (NIV)
Advent 2: December 10, 2023 - Peace Amid Chaos
I will hear what the LORD God speaks; he speaks of peace…Merciful love and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have kissed. Faithfulness shall spring from the earth, and justice look down from heaven. —PSALM 85:8, 10-11 (RGP)
Advent 3: December 17, 2023 - Uninvited Joy
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” —LUKE 1:41-45 (NRSV)
Advent 4: December 24, 2024 - An Architecture of Love
Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in?...Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever. — 2 SAMUEL 7:5,11 (NRSV)
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. —LUKE 1:26-27 (NRSV)
Christmas Day: December 25, 2024 - God With Us
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. —JOHN 1:1-5 (NRSVUE)
December 10th at 4:30 pm - Blue Christmas
Join us for a service of lament, prayer, reflection and the lighting of candles. The reasons for coming are many - Some come because they are mourning the death of a loved one. Some are far from home. Some suffer from illness, addiction, or estrangement. Some are lonely, struggling financially, or in conflict with another. Some hurt because of the great pain, need and violence in our nation and world. We will gather in the midst of suffering to remember God is good, God is strong, God is near. We are not alone, and we have every reason to hold on to hope.
December 17th at 4 pm - Fleetwood Family Christmas
Join us for a fun afternoon beginning with activities and crafts for families and kids followed by a time of singing familiar Christmas carols and hearing the Christmas story. Hot chocolate and Christmas baking will also be served. All ages welcome!