The Pastor’s Pen
Advent and Christmas at Bristol UCC
The church season of Advent is for Christians to prepare themselves, spiritually, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Traditionally, Advent was a season for fasting and repentance, leaving the
Christmas season, December 25 – January 6, for feasting and celebration. For decades now, the common understanding of the Christmas season is that it is about preparing for the feasting and
gift-giving, and even doing much of the celebrating and feasting along the way. A Christian often needs to remember to do their own spiritual preparation these days, but the church can help.
In the Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’ll be exploring the words of several Old Testament prophets, and one New Testament one, to help us prepare to understand who this child Jesus is and is born to be. We are invited to explore our own need for rebirth and redemption in our lives, and to locate that redemption in the Man of Nazareth, whose birth we celebrate in this season. To help us along the way, we have the Advent Wreath with candles for Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love being kindled on each successive Sunday. These four Messianic blessings are brought to us through Jesus and they are ours to explore and claim and spread abroad as we may. Each Sunday of Advent is a mini-holiday. These days, along with all the other holidays both from our faith and from others, focus on light to dispel darkness in our world. Happy Holidays! Is a very appropriate greeting to any and all at this time of year. Merry Christmas! to those who celebrate that particular holiday, like us or not, is appropriate as well.
Not only do each of us have needs for rebirth and redemption, but so too, our world. I am not so arrogant as to say that if only people would become Christian, and Christian like me, then every problem would be solved. Preparing ourselves to look for and recognize what actually brings Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love into the world, and trying to do more of them, or better promote their coming, IS the faith work, the ministry work, and the mission work of Christians in our world. I encourage each of us to find ways to be a more positive influence on the birth of these blessings this season. In so doing, we more fully live out the faith we are called to profess.
Other celebrations of the season(s) at Bristol UCC:
Sat. 12/2 9AM -12PM – Women’s Fellowship Christmas Bazaar
Wed 12/6 @5:30 PM – Pizza, Christmas Carols, Tree Decorating in the church
Sun. 12/17 in Service - Christian Education Christmas Program
Sun 12/24 @ 10AM - Fourth Sunday of Advent service
Sun. 12/24 @ 7PM – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols
Mon. 12/25 – Happy and Healthy Christmas with Family and Friends
All of the events will be accessible and family welcoming.
I pray a holy and fulfilling Advent and Christmas to you all,