A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT
What is Advent?
From an early age, I remember an Advent Wreath in our home. Ramona and I continue this tradition today, often assembling it out of candle-holders and decorations we have collected through the years.
The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning "coming" or "visit", begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the church year for Christians. This year Advent begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas on November 29, and ends at sundown on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24
One of my grandchildren’s favorite activities during Advent is the daily posting of an advent symbol pinned each day on a felt calendar, used when my own children were in pre-school! They just received a new calendar a week ago from a cousin that now includes a gift of chocolate each day of advent when you open a special door numbered with the day of the week from December 1 – December 25.
During Advent, we prepare for and anticipate the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for and need of forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward, anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.
When my wife Ramona and I visited Bethlehem last year on our trip to the Holy Land, we waited in line for several hours to see this holy site because of its world-wide significance. I remember joining in with groups waiting in line at the Church of the Nativity and singing some of my favorite carols including Silent Night and Charles Wesley’s Hark the Herald Angels Sing!
Although we are accustomed to celebrating Christmas on a single day, in both our Christian tradition and on the church calendar, the Christmas season actually begins at sundown on Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve) and lasts through the Epiphany of the Lord on Jan. 6. This is sometimes referred to as "The 12 days of Christmas!"
The color for Advent has traditionally been purple, although some churches have now adopted Sarum Blue from the Medieval Sarum Rite at Salisbury Cathedral in England. Blue is the color most associated with Mary, the mother of Jesus.
From Advent to Christmas to Epiphany, we make our journey each year to find the star that leads us to the manger in Bethlehem.
Once Again, this Christmas we will gather at the manger;
Once Again, this Christmas we will worship the newborn king;
Once Again, this Christmas we will sing the songs of our faith; and,
Once Again this Christmas we will answer the call to follow the star!
…And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12 NIV
O Come Let Us Adore Him;
O Come Let Us Adore Him;
O Come Let Us Adore Him;
Christ The Lord!
For those who serve on or will serve on in 2021 a Staff Parish Committee we held a training on Tuesday, December 1. If you would like to see a copy of the presentation, click here. SPRC+Training+2020.pdf. If you would like to view the recorded Zoom meeting, please email email@example.com and we will send it to you.
NAVIGATING CONFLICT WEBINAR
Bishop Carter invites you to an incredible webinar on Wednesday, December 9 at 2 pm on the topic of Keeping Peace in Home and Family: Navigating Conflict Through the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Holidays. This webinar is limited to the first 100 who register and pay here and is intended to help clergy and their families as well as helping clergy work and interact with families in the church. The cost to each clergy person is $35 (a spouse can join on the same device).
For more information, please visit https://www.flumc.org/navigating-conflict-webinar. The registration deadline is Dec. 7.
FILL THE TABLE UPDATE
During the Charge Conference meetings we introduced you to the "Fill the Table" initiative. Here is the monthly update as reported by the Conference office.
-1,070 volunteers fed the hungry
-$32,958 was raised for feeding initiatives
-283,899 pounds of food given
-336,809 meals served
Don't forget to report your monthly totals! Help us reach our goal! Please fill out the online form each month to report metrics on your church or ministry's efforts to Fill the Table! Find the form online here: fillthetableflorida.org/monthly-form
From the NW District office we wish you all a very merry
and blessed Christmas.
Wayne, Peggy, Janet & Piper