The gospel for Sunday morning is the annunciation to Mary. When Mary heard what the angel said, she replied, Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word. Luke 1:38. The story continues with the birth narrative, on the Eve of Christmas. (other feasts of the church year have lessons appointed for their “eves”-Pentecost and Easter for example-but we only get around to celebrating the Eve of Christmas.)
Mary’s servant-spirit is the heart of the Christian faith. What Mary says in the first two chapters of Luke describe the receptive, humble spirit of a Christian. Without Mary’s example, the faith we share is all mind and no soul; it tries to be all business-plan and enthusiasm without wisdom or self-reflection. Christians bear Christ into the world. We do not bear ourselves or our own ideas. There is only one saint who shows us how to receive God’s word and bear Christ into the world. It is not John the Baptist, not Simon Peter, not the Apostle Paul. It is Mary alone. Mary brings Christ to us and teaches us how to worship God and serve others.
We stand at the turn of the seasons. Our fourth Sunday of Advent worship will begin outdoors. Feeling uncomfortable and out of place for a few minutes puts us into the proper relation to creation, and to the world around us. We are not the givers of orders. We are not the bosses. We are not overlords of our little worlds. If we are servants of God’s word in creation, and servants of our neighbors in need, then we need to stand ready to listen and to serve. So be ready to begin our service outdoors on Sunday morning.
As we continue our walk through Advent, we are joined by John the Baptist. It’s always good to have him back. He brings focus and intensity to sleepy Christians like us. John the Baptist wants to shake us out of our spiritual stupors so that we recognize, and are prepared to receive, the gifts that will be given to us.
John the Baptist as an Ohlone Indian, San Juan Bautista, California
The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.
Young people rehearse their program during the faith formation hour. Instrumentalists, bring your instruments. Readers, bring your script. The dress rehearsal is Saturday, December 16 at 10 am. Following the rehearsal at church, we will all go to Newbury Court, near Emerson Hospital, to present your program to the residents there. Ursula and Perry Smoot live in Newbury Court.
Florence House gifts will be picked up Monday, December 11. Return your gift Sunday, unwrapped, with the tag taped on. Thank you to everyone who participated in this annual appeal. A special word of thanks to Corinne for organizing it.
Sign up to give a poinsettia. The cost is $8.50. Friends of Peace may send an email to me and I will order a poinsettia for you. Include a note, in honor or in memory of someone.
Sign up for the potluck, please. It is December 17, after worship and the Christmas program.
The council meets Tuesday, December 12 at 7:30 pm.
Evening prayer for Advent Wednesday, December 13 at 7:30 pm.
December 24 Fourth Sunday of Advent worship at 9:30 am.
December 24 Christmas Eve worship at 7:30 pm.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
The second lesson for Sunday is the beginning of Paul’s 1st Letter to the Christians in Corinth. It’s a greeting, a salutation, an introduction that settles us down and directs our attention to words about to be spoken. The season of Advent is like a greeting, an extended announcement that a proclamation is about to be heard. Grace to you and peace from God. These words put us in the right frame of mind and quiet our hearts so that we can hear what is about to be said.
I hope that you all feel the grace of God in your life. I hope you understand that you are loved and appreciated.
New members at Peace: John Van Alsten and Shirley Koulopoulos will join the membership of Peace. Both of them come to us by letter of transfer from Lutheran Church of Framingham. In January, before the semiannual meeting, we will officially receive them. John and Shirley come with gifts of faith and commitment. Both of them will bless our congregation. If you have not introduced yourself to them, please do.
The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.
The lighting of the first candle in the Advent wreath follows the confession and the Kyrie. We omit the hymn of praise in Advent. We’ll help one another keep a devotional silence as the candle is lighted.
Thank you to Carol and Warren for adorning the Advent wheel with seasonal greens. They have performed this creative service for many years.
During the faith formation hour at 11 am, the children and older students will meet in the worship room to rehearse the Christmas program. Instrumentalists should bring their instruments and their music. Everyone who would like to be in the December 17 program should be there for the rehearsal.
Allen Simon, our intern last year from Harvard Divinity School, will return to speak to us about beauty and movement, art and athletics. Chairs will be set up in the first room on the left (Mr. Scheidemantel’s room). Jordan Mueller will introduce Allen. Thank you to Mary Ann for picking up Allen at the Lincoln station. If someone can help Allen get to a station for a ride back to Cambridge, that will be fine.
There are two sign-ups on the table in the narthex. If you would like to send an email to me, I will put your name on the sign-up sheet(s).
1.) Poinsettias. The cost is $8.50. Checks should be made out to Peace.
2.) Holiday potluck Sunday, December 17. How many people will come and what will you bring.
Bring in paper goods for the Wayland Food Pantry.
Dates for your December Calendars
December 3 Christmas program rehearsal 11 am
December 6 Advent Quiet Prayer 7:30 pm
December 10 Christmas program rehearsal 11 am
December 13 Advent Quiet Prayer 7:30 pm
December 16 Christmas program rehearsal 10 am followed by caroling at Newbury Court in Concord
December 17 Christmas program during morning worship, 9:30 am. Potluck lunch follows the service. Bring a dish to share
December 20 Advent Quiet Prayer 7:30 pm
December 24 Morning worship Holy Communion 9:30 am
December 24 Christmas Eve candlelight Holy Communion 7:30 pm