4th Sunday of Advent: Angels-under-the-Balcony; Christmas Preparations & Celebrations! Mitten Tree Gathering Continues
December 22, 2018
"Once more the Advent candles burn," as Bill Flanders wrote in his Advent hymn we have been singing this season. On this fourth Sunday, we will light the fourth candle, and on Christmas we will light the Christ Candle (in the center of the wreath) for that light which "the darkness [has] not overcome it." This is what we'll be about in the coming days: dealing with the darkness, preparing for the promised light, and celebrating the light born in our midst.
Two instances of the darkness which seeks to overwhelm us, are the deaths of parishioners John Lelas and Peter Johnson. John, a former parish treasurer and Vestry Member, was part of the 8 o'clock congregation. We gave thanks for John's life and witness Saturday morning at the Guilford Funeral Home.
One way to deal with the darkness brought by Peter's death would be to participate in hosting the reception that will follow our service for him, on Saturday, December 29 at 11a.m. in the church. There will be sign-ups and more information about reception plans on Sunday morning, and in the coming week.
Another way to counter darkness is to respond to winter's chill by supporting our Angels-Under-the-Balcony appeal for the Town's Heating Assistance Program. This program actually began at Christ Church when Guilford was a much smaller town, and the Rector could know all the "widows of good character" -- the program's original beneficiaries. Although the program now serves the whole town and gifts are welcome at any time, we will have our official ingathering on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 23rd.
Our Choir and Sunday School were dealing with the darkness each in their own way Saturday morning: they rehearsed their anthems, and songs. In addition to rehearsing music, the Sunday School rehearsed their Nativity Pageant; their rehearsal of songs and speaking parts will continue during their class-time on Sunday morning.
You may notice that the Mitten Tree is now mostly bare, Except for a few items still in the Rectory, the mittens, gloves, scarves, caps, and other items that once totally covered the tree, were delivered to the Chapel-on-the-Green in New Haven on Friday; Organizers were putting together gifts bags for the Chapel's Sunday congregation of folks who live on the margins of New Haven's plenty..
Our Outreach Group has another challenge to put before us: To do something we haven't done before. To host a winter-time Chapel-on-the-Green Sunday worship service and lunch! The Outreach Group, which includes any interested folks, is thinking in terms of providing a warm and hearty "crockpot" soup lunch, and providing another 100-120 pairs of mittens or gloves for the regular worshipers. Our winter Sunday, will be January 27, 2019. There'll be more information in the weeks to come.
Remember last year when we were still in Advent on Sunday morning, December 24th, and Christmas Eve began at dusk that evening? This year we have more than an afternoon to move from Advent preparations to Christmas celebrations. Our schedule will follow a familiar the pattern:
Christmas Eve: Monday, December 24th
4:30 p.m. Pageant Service: Our Sunday School proclaims the story of Jesus’ birth. Music by Children & Youth Ensemble; we celebrate with communion and Silent Night.
10 p.m. Festal Service: Full Choir, harp, organ, and strings lead the music in a service rich with candlelight tradition, including communion and Silent Night.
Christmas Day: Tuesday, December 25th
10 a.m. Holy Eucharist: Celebrate with organ, carols and soloist.
I look forward to completing our Advent preparations, and beginning our Christmas celebrations with you.
In faith and hope,
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