It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Happy First Sunday of Advent!  

Today marks the beginning of a new season, and a new Christian Year as we celebrate the Season of Advent.  This is a time for us to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Messiah.  Advent means “Coming.”  We celebrate these days of Advent in expectation and preparation for Christ’s arrival, an arrival that is truly Good News to the whole world. 

In this hectic season it’s easy for us to lose sight of the real meaning, the real purpose, the real reason for our celebrations.  This season too easily becomes a headless-chicken rush from one event to the next, one tradition to the next, one obligation to the next.  It’s up to us as Christians to be diligent and intentional as we celebrate that we never lose sight of what’s really important, AND that we never let those “really important things” stand in the way of the joy and wonder of this very special time of year.  The message of the Christ-child was in his actions; he taught and lived a life of humility and sacrifice, his material present to his disciples was a humble meal of bread and grape juice.   

Through the centuries, Christians have been called to observe a time of waiting and expectation before celebrating the birth of the Savior at Christmas.  The Advent Season is a time for reflection and preparation, but its mood is joyful.  Advent proclaims the revelation of God’s love as expressed in Christ’s birth in a humble stable, His sacrificial death on the cross, and His victorious resurrection.  It points to the hope of Christ’s coming again as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Advent makes innkeepers out of all of us, asking us to make room for the arrival of Christ the King.  

On Sunday the 28th we will prepare our church sanctuary for the Advent and Christmas celebrations to come.  We enjoy the beauty of Christmas—the music and candles, the greenery and flowers, the symbols of the manger and the star.  But these are not merely decorations, after all.  As we hang the traditional decorations, we will remind ourselves of their meaning, so that as we move through the season they can be a constant reminder of what this Holy Season is about.  I know many of these things are traditional, and might be almost rote to most of us, but I would like to invite you to see them anew, to truly look beyond the familiar at the wonder of Christmas.  This is truly a time of year filled with wonder, if we will only see it.  It is a season filled with the Word of God’s wonderful love, sent in the familiar warmth of a child’s embrace.  The message behind each of these decorations is wonderful, and they add up to a story filled with wonder.   

We hope that as you participate in preparing this building for Advent, you will also prepare your own home and heart this season.  So ahead and decorate your house with us if you’re joining online!  Let us open our eyes to the wonder, the beautiful light of Advent and Christmas as we worship the coming King, who is Christ the Lord! 

 

Sunday’s Livestream Service at 10:30—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 am so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can access the service at stpaulsworship.org You can chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. A pop-up will ask you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. The service will be available on YouTube either Sunday afternoon or Monday. 

Sunday’s In-Person Service at 10:30 –Our in-person, indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.  Please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update. There will be space for those who still wish to social distance and mask, and masks are no longer required at worship for those who are vaccinated. 

 

Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:15 am in the Fellowship Hall.  

Praise New Generation and SPYouth will not be meeting this week, Sunday, November 28. Enjoy the holiday celebrations with your families! Our regular Youth schedule most weeks is: Praise New Generation meeting from 4:00 pm-5:00 pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 5:00 pm-6:30 pm every Sunday. You can always check the calendar at childrenandyouthcalendar.org for updated info. 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us. You may contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help. We will get back to you as soon as possible.