Still catching up on my back-log of sermons… Here’s the Festival of 9 Lessons and Carols service from December 27. This service is a series of 9 readings and carols patterned after the service at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, UK.
A Family Tradition with Crèche, Carols and Candlelight
Thursday, December 24 − 7:00 p.m.
It’s a long-lived tradition at BPC. There will be nativity tableaux vivants (or living scenes) featuring young folks in the roles of Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds and wise men. Choir and congregation will join in many carols. The service will end with a spreading of candlelight throughout the sanctuary. Pastor Mike will give a brief message. The Christmas Joy Offering will be received. This service is a wonderful way to introduce friends and neighbors to the church – and maybe to make a difference in their lives.
Christmas Cards for George
We would like George to have a multitude of Christmas greetings. There will be cards on the table (along with labels) for you to take to send to George for Christmas. He loves to receive mail. Please help to make him smile this holiday season.
This offering, one of four special offerings designated by the General Assembly, has been in existence since the 1930s. Half of the offering is used to assist active and retired church workers in times of need. The fund supplies supplemental income for retirees and emergency assistance grants for workers with special financial needs or emergencies. The other half provides scholarships for minority students who would otherwise be unable to attend the racial ethnic schools and colleges supported by the Presbyterian Church (USA).
In order to continue providing this much-needed assistance, the Christmas Joy Offering depends on congregations like ours. These grants show our faithful response to God’s charge to love one another as Christ commanded. Recipients of the grants say as important as the financial assistance was, the knowledge that the church was standing with them in time of need was even more important. As always, the Christmas Eve offering will be used for the Christmas Joy Offering. There will be envelopes in the pews for those unable to attend that service.
Food Pantry Needs
Volunteers needed at the Food Pantry. Can you volunteer a couple hours per week, or biweekly, or monthly? There are many tasks that we need help with, including helping clients to their vehicles with their groceries, organizing, shelving, and so many others. Find out more by calling 781-270-6625, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or online:peoplehelpingpeopleinc.org. Thank you!
“Wish Tree” Volunteers Needed
The Wish Tree at the Burlington Mall runs from Nov. 27 to Dec. 16. Families who are currently served by PHP have the opportunity to request gifts, or “wishes” for their children. Our goal is to provide four wishes for each child through high school age. The wishes are printed on cards to be taken by folks willing to provide that gift. When the gift is brought back to the Wish Tree a snowflake goes on the Wish Tree to indicate that wish has been met. The gifts are collected each day and then sorted to be picked up and wrapped by family members on December 21. Our days to staff the table are Tuesday, December 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, December 6 from noon to 6 p.m. There is a signup sheet in Fellowship Hall for folks to indicate when they can take a two hour slot to sit at the table to collect gifts. If you’d like to take a slot, but none are available, please speak to Colette Greco or Linda Roscoe, as subs are sometimes needed. Help is also needed for folks willing to pick up gifts each evening at 9 p.m. and deliver them to the sorting place. If you can help do that, see Linda.
We are in need of volunteers for December 6!
PJ and Underwear Drive
We are once again participating in the PJs and Underwear Christmas Drive for People Helping People. This year we have been asked to provide 30 such items. The specifics are written on the cards. If you have taken a card or cards, please make sure that the gifts match the sizes, styles and departments written on the wish cards. If you bring in any of these items, please do so no later than Sunday, December 13. Label the gift(s) by securely taping the wish cards onto the matching gifts. The gifts are to be unwrapped. Thank you again for your continued generosity!
Poinsettia Sales will be continuing Nov 22, 29 and December 6. Please give your order form and money to Annette Chapman-Adisho or Jackulin David. The offering this year will be to support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance in providing relief to Middle East refugees. Thank you.
Come usher in the season of Advent with fellowship and singing at our Pot-luck Advent Dinner and Sing-Along on Saturday, December 5th, 5:00 – 8:00. Bring a main dish, side dish, or dessert to share. Also, if possible, bring a pair of new mittens, gloves or hat (child-size or adult) to decorate our mission Christmas tree – we will donate them to People Helping People. Children are welcome! We will have crafts & puzzles for them. Let us know your favorite Christmas carol or song. Sign-up sheets in Fellowship Hall and back of bulletin.
We are starting a book discussion on Nov 29. It will continue on Dec 13 and 20 after worship service. The book is “Year of Plenty” by Craig L. Goodwin. Snacks will be provided. Books are for sale for $13 and my email is email@example.com phone #979-777-9055 .
Letters have gone out to parents of children in 3rd grade and above for the Christmas Tableaux. Please return them as soon as possible to the box on the table in the narthex or mail them to the church, no later than November 24th. If you did not receive your letter, there are some available on the table in the narthex.
The carols of Christmas touch our hearts in ways beyond any other music-reminding us of our past, bringing joy to our present, promising hope for our future.
We will be selling the Legacy Christmas CDs again this Advent season. There will be limited copies available. The cost is $15.00 each. These make wonderful Christmas gifts. The offerings this year will be split between Living Waters for the World and our congregation.
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.
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 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!
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.
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!
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.