When it comes to music, Advent is an interesting—and sometimes puzzling—time of year. It’s the one time of the year when secular recording artists sing songs about the birth of the Messiah while Christian recording artists sing secular songs such as “Sleigh Ride” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
Music is just as crazy in the church. There are some ministers who insist on only singing Advent songs during Advent and save the Christmas carols for Christmas Eve and the Twelve Days of Christmas which follow. There are others who virtually forget all about Advent and jump headlong into Christmas carols as soon as they’ve finished singing, “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come.”
Opting for the “both/and” approach, we’ll have some of each beginning on the First Sunday of Advent, December 3. We’ll feature traditional worship at 8 am and our Children’s Sunday school program will follow at 10:30 in the MAC. Scriptures include Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 and Mark 13:24-37.
Scriptures for Sunday, December 10 include Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalm 85, 2 Peter 3:8-15a and Mark 1:1-8. I’ll be preaching at both services; however, the 10:30 service will also feature special music by the bell choir.
We’ll have two very different services on Sunday, December 17. I’ll be leading worship at 8 a.m. but at the 10:30, I’ll be turning the service over to our sanctuary choir who will bless us with the Christmas cantata, “The Voices of Christmas.” Scriptures for the day include Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 and John 1:6-8, 19-28.
The first of our two Christmas Eve services will be held at 6 pm Friday, December 22. Our “Eve Before You Leave” service will feature carols and candlelight communion. Scriptures include Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14 and Luke 2:1-20.
Please remember the number “9” on Sunday, December 24. Once again, we’ll have two very different services, both at 9 o’clock. Because it’s Christmas Eve, we’ll have just one service Sunday morning and it will be held at 9 am. Scriptures include 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Luke 1:46b-55; Romans 16:25-27 and Luke 1:26-38.
That evening, Christmas Eve worship will be at 9 pm. The service and scriptures will be the same as our Eve Before You Leave.
Our last services of 2017 will be on Sunday, December 31 with worship at both 8 and 10:30 am. Scriptures include Isaiah 61:10-62:3; Psalm 148; Galatians 4:4-7 and Luke 2:22-40.
As always, scriptures for lector-liturgists are underlined.
I’ll see you in church,