We prepare for the birth of Jesus during the Season of Advent and celebrate it during the twelve days of Christmas.
The seasons of the church year are helpful ways of focusing our attention on different aspects of our Christian story. The practice of keeping the church year dates back to 5th century Jerusalem. As Christians, we use symbols to visually express the basics of our faith and as reminders of the journey in Christ and with Christ in our life. Symbols can have heightened meaning for us when associated with particular seasons of that journey.
The Season of Advent
You will notice several symbols in this first season of the Christian year. We begin the Church Year with Advent, from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”. Advent, a quiet time of watching and waiting, consists of the four Sundays before Christmas when we anticipate Christ’s coming into the world. It is a time of preparation.
The Advent Wreath, made by a member of SsAM, consists of a circle of evergreen branches (symbolizing eternal life) and four candles, representing the light of God coming into the world. The fifth candle is white and is called the Christ Candle. There is no prescribed color for the candles, although several traditions exist. Some of you may remember the use of purple during Advent, representing a penitential theme for the season. In more recent years, however, blue is being used, reflecting the sense of hope and anticipation.
On the 1st Sunday, a blue candle (hope) is lit. On the 2nd Sunday we add the second blue candle (peace or preparation) while on the 3rd Sunday, the pink candle (joy) is lit. The 4th Sunday in Advent marks the lighting of the final blue candle (love).
This year our weekly readings are from A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church Year B by the Rev. Dr. Wilda Gafney, Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Our readings will also be the basis of our Adult Formation program at 9:15 a.m. each Sunday during Advent. We hope you will also consider using these readings for your devotions during Advent. Click here!
Advent Events & Worship Services
Sunday December 10 and 17
Holy Communion at 8:00 a.m. (spoken) and 10:30 a.m. (choral)
9:15am Sunday Mornings on Dec 10, 17, and 24
Advent Adult Formation Series — During Advent we will be hearing a different set of readings during worship, readings that come from Dr. Wilda Gafney’s A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church. Also, we will host a series of formation discussions Sundays at 9:15am to explore these stories of women in scripture more deeply. These discussions will be led by women from within our own community: Linda Jackson, Christina Brennan Lee, and Sister Rosie Castelli. If you are interested in learning more about these Biblical stories, please join us in the auditorium Sunday mornings at 9:15am during Advent.
Developmental Toys Wanted for Saint Michael’s Daycare before December 5
The Episcopal Church Women (ECW) Ministry at SsAM is collecting developmental toys for ages 2-10 until December 5. Fisher Price, Melissa and Doug, or Lego toys are good choices. Or write a check payable to SsAM and write St. Michaels in the memo line. Please do not open the box or wrap it. We need to make this as simple as possible.
Sunday, December 10 and 24 at 10:30am
Children’s Chapel is held every 2nd and 4th Sunday. Click here to learn more about Children’s Chapel at SsAM.
Tuesday, December 19 – 7:30 p.m.
A Feast of Carols (The choirs of SsAM and Grace UMC)
Sunday, December 24 – 10:30 a.m.
(single morning service for last Sunday in Advent) – Holy Eucharist (choral)
Christmas Events & Worship Services
Sunday, December 24 – 4:00 p.m.
Christmas Eve Family Service – with Holy Eucharist
Sunday, December 24 – 10:30 p.m. Christmas Carols followed immediately by
11:00 p.m. Chrismas Eve Festive Choral Eucharist also known as Midnight Mass.
Monday, December 25 – 10:30 a.m.
Christmas Day Holy Eucharist. Communion at SsAM – All are welcome to receive Holy Communion. Please come to the altar railing, filling in from the lectern (Epistle side) to the center of the altar railing and from the center to the pulpit (Gospel side). The gluten free station is in the middle of the altar railing.
Through Sunday, December 31
Meet the Need: Hospitality items wanted for Friendship House and Sojourners’ Place. The Community Advocacy Committee will be using the food donation baskets in the entryway and the narthex for hospitality supplies for Friendship House and Sojourners’ Place. We are collecting coffee, sugar, and creamer which the two agencies use to provide a welcoming place for residents and clients. This collection will continue to the end of December. Larger containers of these items are helpful. You may still continue to donate regular groceries as well.
Photo above: Members light the candles on the Advent Wreath at the beginning of a worship service.