Fourth Sunday in Advent, December 20, 2020
The Song of Mary is one of our appointed readings again this Sunday. Yes, that will be two Sundays in a row. On the Third Sunday of Advent, Mary's Song, otherwise known as the Magnificat, echoed the prophecy in our first reading; Mary's prophetic song took its place with the prophecies of Isaiah and John the Baptist. This Sunday, the Fourth in Advent, Mary herself is the center of attention as we hear the story of Gabriel's Annunciation to Mary. Gabriel's final words to Mary are that her cousin Elizabeth is pregnant; Mary's "Visitation" with Elizabeth is the occasion for Mary's Song. (Luke 1:46-55)
Please don't check out as we read Mary's Song together. Last week, we read our lectionary Bible -- the New Revised Standard Version's text; this week we'll pray the Inclusive version from the Episcopal Church's Enriching Our Worship. The editors have switched Mary's Song from describing what God is doing with repeated masculine pronouns -- "he has" -- to a prayerful address to God -- with a "you have" refrain. I find it compelling. I hope you will too. And I'd be interested in hearing from you about this experiment.
Mitten Tree: Before and since the snow storm our Mitten Tree received many decorations at the chancel altar rail. Please consider helping to decorate the tree with mittens, gloves, scarves and caps. These will be shared with our neighbors served by the Chapel-on-the-Green in New Haven.
You're welcome to place your "decorations" on the Tree between 10a.m. and 3p.m. daily, entering via the door closest to the Guild Room. While you're there, please feel free to enjoy a quiet moment alone in the church.
The 4th Sunday of Advent is when we usually receive our "Angels-under-the-Balcony" donations for the Town's Heating Assistance Program -- a program that actually began at Christ Church. This year, the Angel-reminders are hanging on the Mitten Tree. As you are able, please consider an "Angelic" gift to help keep our neighbors warm this winter. Checks may be made out to Christ Church with "Angel" or "Heating Assistance" on the memo line. You could leave your gift on the altar, the shelf in the Rectory entry hall or mail it to the Parish Office. Thank you for participating in these caring traditions.
Our livestreamed celebration of the Holy Eucharist with hymns, vocal solos, and spiritual communion begins just before 10a.m.
Given the persistent cold and snow on the ground, our Prayers in the Garden service will not meet on December 20.
Given the shocking increase in the number of Covid-19 infections in Guilford, our town remains a Connecticut "red" zone. As such, our Bishops, and the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, continue to urge us to forego gathering inside for in-person worship. Our Vestry supports this decision.
Digital Sunday School was emailed just before noon on Friday; in his video introduction to Sunday's readings, Tyler Jarvis provides a delightful perspective on God's willingness to "live" in a tent, rather than the grand house King David wants to build. Along with questions for pondering and other helpful links, Tyler has also provided a link for a Christmas Veggie Tales. I'm definitely going to check that out on Christmas Day!
If you missed Tyler's sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent, you can find it here. I commend it to you.
Advent hands-on activities for Sunday School and Youth families remain available for pick-up in the Parish Hall daily 10a.m.-3p.m.
Virtual Coffee Hour... is a great opportunity to "see" one another. The link to YFNR's Personal Zoom Room seems to work well. So, join the conversation via Zoom this Sunday, December 20 at 11:30a.m. by clicking this link. If asked, the Meeting ID: 540 197 1077, and Passcode: 1744AD
Please send the people and concerns you would like included in the Prayers of the People. by replying to these announcements or the "Let us pray" message. Please consider this the digital version of the clip board on which names and concerns are written when we gather for worship in the nave.
Livestream Service for Margaret W. Smith: Along with her husband, the Rev. Kent Smith, Margaret has been a great friend of Christ Church, and Christ Church parishioners. She died early Thursday morning. A Requiem Eucharist will be offered at 10a.m. on Monday, December 21, 2020 via livestream from their parish, Christ Church, New Haven. You can join the service by clicking here.
Order for the Evening on Wednesday:
On Wednesday, we'll return to a simpler service to give thanks for Jesus' practical friend, Thomas. If you missed the Advent services with special music, you can find them here.
Thursday Bible Study has concluded our study of the sagas of Jacob and Joseph. We'll take Christmas Eve off, and then return on December 31 to continue into the Book of Exodus.
Nativity Pageant: Based on last Saturday's recording, we are all in for a treat on Christmas Eve! Be sure to "tune in" at 4p.m. December 24, for "The Best Virtual Christmas Pageant Ever!" Our young people did a swell job telling the story, and there will be special music from our musicians.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will follow at 9p.m. -- note the earlier hour -- with Spiritual Communion and as many of the musical traditions of the evening as we can manage to include.
Our Christmas Day service, the Christ Mass, at 10a.m., will also include Spiritual Communion, the sermon, hymns, a vocal solo, and organ.
Estimate of Giving Cards:
Thanks so much to the 80 households who have responded with their Estimate of Giving for our operating budget in 2021! If you need a card, please respond to this message, and one will be in the mail posthaste!
Thanks to all who are mailing in your offerings!
Although our in-person connections remain severely limited, the routine of the parish continues amidst all the ways that support and maintain our common life. Thanks so much, for your faithfulness in fulfilling your giving estimate for 2020. Please continue your financial support of our common life by bringing your offering to the service in the Garden, or by sending your offerings to Christ Church, PO Box 574, Guilford, CT 06437. Your offering will be presented at the altar; it will be physically present, as you remain safely at home.
In the faith, hope and love of Christ,
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!