Snow for December 15

Hi Friends

As of now, we are not cancelling worship for the morning.  If there is a decision to close, it will be made and posted by 9:00 am.

The Adult Class HAS been called off, since we figure that at best folks are going to be slower getting up and out of their driveways.

If we do go ahead with worship, NO ONE should feel obligated to come, even if you have are scheduled to teach, sing, light candles, do coffee, whatever. We would want no one to feel unsafe in coming to church.  You can always reply to this email, or call the church, if you want to send regrets.

One more note: The gun buy back we helped sponsor in Burlington was more successful than the clergy and police had guessed it would be – at least 15 guns were turned in. There may be coverage on the Channel 4 news at 11.

Advent: A Lovely Restlessness

There’s a loveliness to be found even amidst the hard-sell harriedness of the holiday push. It might be in a light early winter snowfall. It might be in a carol piped above mall shoppers that you hear in a new way. It might be in a smell of baking, or a child’s eager question. It could be in the sanctuary, watching a candle take flame and singing O Come, O Come… or in ancient words that promise the coming of peace in the One we call Our Peace.

Heaven knows we need such moments in times like these.

But if our efforts are directed only toward wrapping ourselves in loveliness, we will have missed our Advent calling. The prophets’ messages of this season direct us toward the coming again of One who was born in a dark stable in an occupied town… and as of this writing, this same land of his birth is exploding with rockets and wails of mourning. He came to a humble family and would grow to associate with folks on the margins of his society… and if we look through Christ-focused eyes we see how the real needs of such persons in our land are unmet, even trampled.

Advent’s hope is heralded through the rough voice of the Baptist, challenging us to prepare the way and to bear fruits worthy of repentance. This we can only do by first looking deep inside, and then deeply at the world around us, and allowing a restlessness to surface. A restlessness with ourselves, and with the conditions of our world that call into question our true readiness for a holy birth among us.

And then we must do something, or some things, even in small ways, to channel this restlessness into actions that help prepare the way – in our hearts, our families, our world.

I recently ran across this prayerful poem by Dom Helder Camara:

Take away the quietness
of a clear conscience,
Press us uncomfortably.
For only thus
that other peace is made,
your peace.

May loveliness, and restlessness, be ours this Advent season.

Peace, Rod

Advent begins at BPC

Dear BPC Family,

Two special events to bring folks together as Advent begins this weekend:

Saturday, 6:30-7:30 pm Community Christmas Sing Along (followed by cookies, hot chocolate, and a “special visitor”)
Bring friends and sing!

Sunday, after worship Advent Event for Sunday School families
After a hearty coffee hour, we will create a Nativity Scene (Creche) for
our church – there’ll be something to do for children, youth and parents

…and a big Thank You to all who contributed to our food-and-checks collection for the food pantry of the Presbyterian Church of the Moriches in Long Island. It will be on the way to its destination tomorrow.

Advent peace,
Rod

Christmas Community Sing-along – Saturday December 1

Christmas Singers from the past

The Presbyterian Church at 335 Cambridge Street, Burlington, MA is hosting a community Christmas sing-along for the whole family on Saturday, December 1. The time is 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., with time for cookies and hot chocolate afterward. Adults and children of all ages are invited to come and “make a joyful noise,” joining in a wide selection of carols and songs both spiritual and secular. From “Silent Night” to “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” from the “Coventry Carol” to “Jingle Bells,” we’ll join our voices in a spirited time of fellowship. Several accompanists will take part and all will see the words will be projected on a screen.

Please plan to take a break from shopping and join us for a warm introduction to this special season. The Presbyterian Church welcomes the believing and the seeking, the questioning and the doubting, God’s children of every background and lifestyle. So whoever you are, come and sing!

The church is wheelchair accessible.

If you need more information please call the church at 781-272-9190.

Joining with the Characters of Christmas

This year, the Sundays of Advent will be filled with people who play beloved roles in the story of God’s coming among us in Jesus. But we won’t be trying to rush into Christmas early!

Instead, we’ll explore each week the ancient Hebrew and Old Testament roots that help explain the meaning of the wise men, shepherds, Mary and Joseph. They don’t spring spontaneously onto the scene, but come filled with old understandings as well as fresh significance. They help to shape the nativity stories of Matthew and Luke in very different ways. And they reflect many of the same longings, struggles, and conflicts that are part of our world in 2011.

Our children and youth will be important in this journey. Sunday classes are preparing banners based on these characters to be presented each week, and each group will take a turn in the lighting of the Advent candles.

As you’ll see later in Crossroads, adults have an opportunity to delve more deeply into the scriptures and characters for each Sunday during their study group at 9:15 a.m. New folks are always welcome!

And the season will also have regular BPC traditions: Christmas caroling to seniors and shut-ins on December 18; and our Christmas Eve Family Service featuring children and youth in Nativity Tableaux (“scenes”).

Because Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Sundays this year, special plans are underway. On Christmas we will have a family-friendly Service of Lessons and Carols. New Year’s Day will feature a brunch, with communion around the tables, as a meaningful way to begin the new year.

Many of our members (and some friends!) will be helping to staff People Helping People’s Wish Tree at the Mall for three days during the shopping season to help bring holiday blessing to families having hardships. Our Deacons are planning a special offering opportunity, which will include assisting local nursing home residents with clothing (as you’ll see later in Crossroads).

Come, be part of the real blessings of God’s Christmas. Is there a friend you could invite to share the gift, too?

Peace,

Rod