Sundays in December

December 4, 2011            Second Sunday of Advent   
The theme for our Advent reflections this year will be Occupy Hope. The title, of course, echoes the surprising Occupy Wall Street movement. Though the sermon series is not meant to glorify that movement, it recognizes that the conversation in our country is changing because of these people who are claiming to speak for “the 99%.” Where do we place our hope? How do we live into hope in this season as we prepare for the coming of the Prince of Peace? We share Holy Communion this morning as part of our Advent preparation.
The Men’s LIFE group meets this morning at 8 am and the Journey class meets after church.
Read: Isaiah 40:1-11, Mark 1:1-8

 December 11, 2011         Third Sunday of Advent      Christmas Cantata  
The choir sings the service this morning, featuring a Christmas Cantata, “Tapestry of Light,” by Joseph M. Martin, a joining of traditional carols, primarily from the British Isles, with scripture. As we continue to anticipate and occupy hope with joy, we invite everyone to wear bright clothing today to symbolize God dressing us up in joy.
Today is the day we decorate our Christmas tree with mittens, scarves, coats, and gifts for friends from Mary Jane Center and the Methodist Home for Children. The Confirmation class meets after church today with Pastor David.
Read: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

December 18, 2011          Fourth Sunday of Advent    Christmas Pageant    
This morning the children lead the celebration as they perform their annual Christmas Pageant. Near the climax of our waiting in hope we read about the wonder of Mary at her part in the drama – and the indication that God is finally lifting up the poor of the world and bringing justice for all God’s people. Mary sounds suspiciously like a member of the Occupy Wall Street movement this morning. So the sermon today is Occupy Hope with Love.
Read: Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26, Luke 1: 46b-55

December 24, 2011        Christmas Eve Carol and Candlelight service
The Christmas Eve Carol and Candlelight service begins at 7:30 pm. We sing the most joyful songs of Christmas on this beautiful evening in anticipation of the wonderful gift of Christmas Day. On one of the darkest nights of the year, the light of the Christmas story brightens the night along with the beauty of the harp and flute. The candles provide part of the magic of the evening as we hold the light high in anticipation of the child to be born among us.
Read: Luke 2:1-20

December 25, 2011        Christmas Day
When Christmas occurs on a Sunday the church is challenged even more than usual to reclaim the day from its hijacking by secular consumerism. Come to meditate, sing, worship, and celebrate the birth of God-with-us on Christmas Day. In an informal service we will share what the day means to us especially this year. If all goes well, we will present a short musical play called, “Scrooge.” If there is a sermon at all, you may call it, A Joyful Noise. Children may share their favorite gift and adults may choose a carol to sing in the service.
Read: Psalm 98, John 1:1-14

January 1, 2012          New Year’s Day  
Begin 2012 on your knees this year as we receive Holy Communion within the powerful Wesleyan Covenant Love Feast. The sermon is Our Covenant for the New Year. This is the second Sunday of Christmas, so we continue to sing Christmas carols and celebrate the new reality of Living God presence.
Read: Isaiah 61:10-62:3, Luke 2:22-40