Community Christmas Sing-a-long

Friday, December 5, 2014
Burlington Presbyterian Church
7 – 8 pm

Do you love Christmas music? Do find yourself humming along under your breath as you shop? Come sing loud and clear with us on Friday, as we work our way through traditional and religious Christmas songs together. The young and the old are all welcome to come and sing. We’ll be accompanied by a medley of instrumentalists, and our singing will be followed up with cookies and snacks! No religious affiliation is needed – your presence is welcome and wanted.

After the Star…

We will soon be peering beyond the glow and celebrations of the holidays into the new year. We eye its coming with expectation and uncertainty, hope and anxiety. We know for certain that change is on the way – for you, and for me. The church family will be entering an important time of both saying goodbye and affirming its strengths as my time for retirement approaches at the end of April. More importantly, we know that the challenges of staying faithful to the meaning of the Incarnation, of Christ’s presence in human life, of the message of his coming in peace and with good news for the hurting, will go on. It was his work; now it is ours.

I’ve used this quote from Howard Thurman many times, so I hope you’ll be patient with my offering it one last time. Thurman was the Dean of the Chapel at Boston University for many years, the first African American to hold this post at a mostly-white educational institution:

“When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.”

— from The Mood of Christmas

Another quote from Thurman points toward the hope we can have as we try to follow the Christ of Bethlehem into a struggling world:

“In the conflicts between man and man, between group and group, between nation and nation, the loneliness of the seeker for community is sometimes unendurable. The radical tension between good and evil, as man sees it and feels it, does not have the last word about the meaning of life and the nature of existence. There is a spirit in man and in the world working always against the thing that destroys and lays waste.”

This “something” we know as God’s Holy Spirit. It is at work in you and me, in the Burlington church, and everywhere people are trying to do “the work of Christmas”.

Good hope for this new year!

Rod

Christmas Eve Service

Image

Hello Friends

Hoping you will come – and invite friends and neighbors:

Tuesday, Christmas Eve, 7:00 p.m. – Our traditional Family Service for all ages with Nativity tableaux (scenes), carols and candlelight. The nursery will be heated for any parents and young children who need a break.

A great time to invite others!

Reminder for all those who are part of the tableaux – rehearsal is Monday night, 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 29 – Worship at 10:30 (no classes except for preschool)
A visit from Bethlehem’s innkeeper

A blessed Christmas to you and all your loved ones.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel!

Had it been a big year in the Empire? Caesar Augustus maintained his grip. It was the year of the first Empire-wide census, which was sure to bring taxation to support his wars in the north. Astrologers might have proclaimed the discovery of a new star. Herod and Quirinius, meanwhile, had kept things quiet enough near the eastern frontier, with its ever-present threat of Jewish rebellion.

Hardly anyone had noticed the coming of the child of a Nazareth carpenter and his wife, born in a stable in an over-crowded town.

So much has happened in our world in 2013 A.D. The Marathon bombing, the Philippines typhoon, Edward Snowden’s revelations, Syria’s agony, the health care rollout, the Red Sox… all important in their different ways.

Advent, though, is a time for recalling that long-ago stable birth, and to search today beneath the headline events, in the quiet shadows, for the revealing of the God of the simple and the small. The God who acts through barely-noticed deeds of kindness, love, and justice – person-to-person, like the gradual spreading of a candle’s glow.

This will be the last Advent and Christmas for Cathy and me here in Burlington. I look forward to sharing their traditions with you. But this is not the real news for us as people of faith: for that, we look to the ongoing work of God in Christ, giving birth to the way of hope for us and for all people, today, tomorrow, and always.

O come, O come, Emmanuel!

Help others with the gift of music

Legacy Christmas: treasured carols of the Kirk, is a beautiful album of Celtic-influenced carols supporting Living Waters for the World and the Presbyterian Women Birthday Offering fund. Featuring acclaimed musicians and Irish vocalist Alyth McCormack (The Chieftains), the record is receiving rave reviews, with all proceeds benefiting clean water and wellness for children and their families throughout the world. Legacy Christmas makes a wonderful stocking stuffer (complete with a gift card describing the project) and is available at The Presbyterian Church in Burlington at our Sunday coffee hours or by calling the church at 781-272-9190.

Christmas in Burlington MA

Our children's nativity scene

Our children’s nativity scene

Dear BPC Family,

We each come to this Christmas with our individual and shared thoughts and feelings. There are many realities to darken the skies over Bethlehem, and the world, as this holiday draws near. But isn’t that true of every Christmas? I think the carol says it well: The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. And we do have hope: the Child of Bethlehem is the assurance of God’s incarnate, en-fleshed, presence with us, the power of love that nothing can destroy.

Our Christmas Eve service, at 7 p.m., is a tradition for all ages, with Nativity tableaux (scenes), carols and candlelight. It is one of our opportunities to welcome many guests and to share our warmth and hospitality, as well as the Good News. Please come, and invite someone to come with you!

This Sunday (December 23) we will mark the 4th Sunday of Advent, with a message of “Songs in the Night.”

On Sunday, December 30, we will have an informal, family-style service to include children, who will not have Sunday School classes that day.

If you are traveling for this holiday, we pray for your safe journey and a blessed holiday.

May you experience the true joy of Christmas.

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