Advent 2021

Advent explores the interplay of light and darkness, both of which carry the mystery of God. The coming light of the world shines in the darkness but does not overwhelm or erase it. Advent with its themes of listening, waiting, and expectation lends itself perfectly to quiet, candlelight moments. Join us on Sundays and Wednesdays as we explore the blessings of this season and of God in times of both light and darkness as we make our way to the Christmas season.

Sundays of Advent – 9 & 11AM

Please Note: December 19 is one service at 10am and will be live streamed. Use the above link beginning at 10am on that day to worship from home.

First Sunday of Advent

Advent is about the “coming days.” God’s people have always lived in great expectation, but that expectation finds specific, repeated enunciation in the texts appointed for these four weeks. With them we eagerly await the coming days: another Christmas celebration, the second coming of Christ, and the advent of Christ weekly in word and supper. The Gospel text for this Sunday can seem a bit jarring with our culture’s idea of Christmas, but Christ’s second coming reminds us that we find him in the darkness and in Advent’s growing light.

Second Sunday of Advent

– Breaking of the Dawn – Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 1:68-79, and Luke 3:1-6

Advent derives from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” Prophets, forerunners, and messengers tell of the advent – or coming – of our God in Christ. Zechariah, the father of John, sings of the day when “the dawn from on high shall break upon us.” John’s tells us to prepare for Christ’s coming by examining our own lives and the world around us. We should not be complacent in the face of injustice, but instead seek forgiveness and strive for lives that bear fruit according to God’s vision for the world. All the baptized are called to be such messengers, participating in the sharing of the gospel. In so doing we prepare the way for the coming of Jesus and assist all people in capturing a vision of the “salvation of God.”

Third Sunday of Advent

– Breaking of the Dawn – Isaiah 12:2-6, Philippians 4:4-7, and Luke 3:7-18

Halfway through Advent we become accustomed to thinking about both the darkness and light of this season, but this Sunday’s scriptures stretch us even further: to think of light as the Spirit’s refining fire in addition to the flickering candles on our wreath. Though the words of John can seem dark and ominous initially, the crowds, the people seem eager for his teaching asking, “What then should we do?” This response is hopeful good news! And John has even better news: Because the Messiah is coming to baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire,” life will never be the same. Through baptism ‘business as usual’ will be replaced by a fruit-bearing, joy-yielding, grace-filled, hope-ful relationship with God. It’s an excellent reason to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4). The Lord is near!

Fourth Sunday of Advent

– Light Shines in the Darkness – Festival of Lessons & Carols

As the light on our Advent wreath grows, the scriptures for our Lessons & Carols Service remind us that darkness still lingers in the world and in us. We begin with the story of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. Reminded of the darkness of our own sin, the prophets Micah and Isaiah reiterate our need for a Savior, the Messiah. Generations later, Luke recounts the story of his birth in Jesus of Nazareth, and John poetically proclaims that this “Word made flesh” is “the true light.” As we prepare our hearts and minds to welcome the Christ child once again, we join in carols that announce: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it!”
 

Wednesdays of Advent: Holy Darkness – 7PM

First Wednesday of Advent – Darkness Is Holy – Genesis 1

The theme of this service embraces the darkness of these long Advent nights as a place where we encounter the beauty and mystery of God. While darkness has sometimes been used as a negative foil for light, contrasting evil with good or God’s absence with God’s presence, our scripture and assembly song is filled with imagery in which the darkness is too filled with the holiness of God. Sometimes it is in times of darkness where God’s blessings are distilled down and become more clear to us.

Second Wednesday of Advent – Darkness Holds Promise – 1 Samuel 3

God sometimes comes to us in dreams and visions. The long expanse of night, absent the distractions and worries of the day, creates space for us to hear and listen. Three times Samuel hears God’s voice as he sleeps; three times he mistakes it for Eli’s, but eventually comprehends that God might be seeking after him instead. Just as the quiet of night helps us better hear God, so the darkness of night can help us better see the growing light of Advent and Christmas. During the service we will decorate our sanctuary’s Christmas tree with Chris-mons (Christ monograms) and light the tree.

Third Wednesday of Advent – Darkness Holds God – Luke 1:26-38

The entire story of Jesus’ birth is enveloped in darkness. The Savior of the world is conceived, nourished and protected in the dark safety of Mary’s womb. And not long after his birth, Joseph and Mary flee under the protection of night to escape King Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. Many assemblies (like Triumphant Love) hold their principal observance of Christmas the evening before by candlelight. How can we adjust our perception of darkness to see it as a place where God is present, nourishing, and protecting us rather than seeing it simply as a place of fear or lack of faith? As we dim the sanctuary and light candles around the altar, we pause to feel God enfolding us in the darkness. 

No Midweek Advent Service on December 22nd

Join us for Christmas Eve Services on December 24th! See below.

Join us on Christmas Eve at one of our 3 services

4:00pm: Children’s ensembles, Candlelight, Holy Communion
6:00pm: Choir, Bell Choir, Chamber Orchestra & Organ, Candlelight, Holy Communion. This service will be live streamed HERE.
8:00pm: Choir, Bell Choir, Chamber Orchestra & Organ, Candlelight, Holy Communion
No Christmas Day Service.

Sunday, December 26 will be online pre-recorded worship only. Watch the recording HERE

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