Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Advent at Westminster

Year after year it seems that Christmas get farther removed from the One whose birthday we are celebrating. Hopefully during our worship celebrations at Westminster we can find ways to enter Advent and celebrate Christmas in ways that bring us closer to the real message and meaning God intended.

The Advent theme for this year is Advent Wreath: Full Circle. The circle of Advent Candles we light each year bring with them the traditional themes of hope, love, joy and peace. Each week's worship celebration we will focus the theme for each candle. The hymns, scriptures, and sermon will speak to those themes. The Advent services will be a bit more traditional as the Sanctuary Choir will be back in the choir loft, pastors will be wearing robes and we will sing all carols instead of praise songs. Various members and friends of Westminster have graciously agreed to share personal stories of how they found gifts of hope, love, joy and peace in their lives through Jesus. The overall purpose is to be encouraged and set free to worship God in new and creative ways during Advent.

Here are a few suggestions from on how we can celebrate Advent in a way that brings us back to the true meaning of the season:
STOP - Evaluate absolutely everything you do for the Christmas season. Does it give life and joy? Does it bear Christ’s light into the world? If not, say “goodbye.”

PRIORITIZE - Family comes first. Make space in a hectic schedule to enjoy the beauty of the season together in your own home.

SIMPLIFY - Instead of a gourmet extravaganza, host potluck dinners or invite friends for a cup of Christmas tea and a plate of cookies.

DO IT DIFFERENTLY - Instead of hosting a dinner, go to a soup kitchen, give to the food bank and serve those who are not overfed this season. Now, that is welcoming one another as Christ has welcomed you, to the glory of God.

SABBATH TIME - Savor the relationship you have with God, the relationships you have with others, the gift of this day. Be still. Listen. Give thanks.

Visit for more great ideas.

Advent is also a great time to invite family and friends to worship services so they might learn more about the real meaning of Christmas.

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