Although hope, expectation, and faithful waiting, are all watchwords for Advent; another one is preparation. There has been a lot of that this week.
First, our Choir treated us to a beautiful Choral Order for Evening, on December 17. The music, readings prayers and twinkling votive lights, offered encouragement for our watchful waiting and re-awakened hope. At least they did so for me, and I heard the same from others. Then the Choir moved on to preparing for the 4th Sunday of Advent and for our Christmas celebrations.
Early in the week, an ad hoc crew of serious cleaners -- Kay Claiborn, Sarah Oshana and Cindy Smith, gathered to prepare by dusting and waxing and polishing.
Mid-week Junior Warden Sue Shackford prevailed upon her carpenters to replace darkness with light, by switching out burned-out lightbulbs above the nave ceiling. Although this involves negotiating a plank above the ceiling's ridge, they enjoyed viewing the roof structure!
All week Parish Administrator Pat Wakefield has worked on seven sets of service bulletins and their inserts for this Sunday, Monday and next Sunday. As I finish this letter, Kay, Mardee Moore, Diana Stovall and Rhoda Whitman have gathered around the Rectory dining room table to fold and compile the stacks of printed paper now consolidating them for our use.
Most every day this week, Marsha Brown has checked her to-do lists, and taken care of details, putting things in readiness for the quick switch between Advent and Christmas that will happen Sunday afternoon.
At Saturday's Nativity Pageant Rehearsal, our Sunday School players and Youth narrators, will gather with Director Laurie Varley and their teachers, to select costumes and walk-through the pageant script with the carols and anthems they've been learning. Those preparations will continue on Sunday morning during Sunday School time.
Among all the other things Music Director Mark Sullivan has been preparing, he has created scores for our Choir and our Youth String & Alto Sax Ensemble musicians. Suky Bryan will again lead the Pageant Ensemble in the Chancel, and strings and harp will inspire the Festal Service.
So, all will be in readiness for more Advent watchful waiting and preparation, at 8 and 10 on the morning of December 24th. And then, as the sun sets and Christmas Eve begins, we will sing together the Good News "of great joy to all nations" starting with the Nativity Pageant Service at 4:30 p.m., and continuing with the Festal Candlelight service at 10 p.m. Our Christmas celebrations will then continue at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day with organ, carols and an inspiring solo by Beth Stevens.
Even as Christmas arrives, you can still participate in our Advent Outreach efforts:
There's still room on the Mitten Tree for more mittens, caps, gloves, and scarves, and colorful bags of toiletries and candy around the base, for our neighbors served by New Haven's Chapel-on-the-Green, who live on the margins of plenty.
And, a few "Angels-under-the-Balcony" remain, reminding us of Christ Church's historic ministry to help keep our neighbors warm by assisting with their home heating expenses through the Town's Heating Assistance Program.
Among the Christmas greetings in my inbox: an encouraging message from our Connecticut Bishops Ian Douglas and Laura Ahrens, which you can find here, and a stirring video message from our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, which you can find here. I commend them to you as I send you my own prayers and best wishes, that Jesus, "at his coming, may find in us, a mansion prepared for himself."
With Advent hope and Christmas joy,
p.s. Profound thanks to the 84 households who have shared an "Estimate of Giving" for 2018!! If your "Estimate," card has disappeared amid holiday paraphernalia, more are available on the Ushers' Table. Please know that the next 16 "Estimates" are as important as the first, to Christ Church's witness!
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!