Advent & Christmas Services

We continue our celebration of Christmas this Sunday with The Gift of Being Present: Being Present With Faith (and our Questions!)  Christmas is not just a day, but a season albeit a short one.  Just as the familiar song suggests, Christmas lasts 12 days beginning on December 25 and ending on January 5.  During this time, we continue to celebrate Jesus’ birth as God Among Us and the increasing light coming into the world.
This year there is only one Sunday during the Christmas season, December 31.  We will hear the story of Jesus’ dedication in the Temple and its profound effect on two people there, Anna and Simeon, who remained there faithfully worshiping God and praying for new life to come for them and their people.  Their faith is rewarded when they meet eight-day old Jesus.  Then we will explore our questions of faith. This will prepare us for our next season beginning on January 6, Epiphany.
If you want to submit questions about faith, belief, the Bible, the church, etc for our pastor Rev. Melanie to answer during the service, please email her at revmelanieweiner@skylandchurch.com by Sunday morning at 7:00.  Rev Melanie will speak about as many topics as possible.

Sunday at 10:30 AM

December 3

Being Present with Hope

December 10

Being present with Peace

December 17

Being Present with Joy  

December 24

Being Present with Love

Sunday December 24 at 4PM
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Christmas Eve: Being Present with Light 

Spiritual Practices during advent

In these weeks leading up to Christmas, we can become overwhelmed.  We are buying or making gifts, planning meals, preparing for travel, writing Christmas cards, hosting and attending parties.  This busyness takes away from the hope,  peace, joy, and love that the season is meant to be all about.  These practices can counteract that busyness if you will allow them to take a few minutes of your day.  Choose one for the whole season or one per week or choose a new one each day, whatever brings you a few moments of stillness.

You might miss a day or a lot of days.  Don’t worry!  These are called “practices,” not “perfections.”  There is no downside for missing them and there is a huge upside for picking them up again today without regret for yesterday.

So choose a practice or two or five and give them a few minutes of your precious time.

  1. Silent meditation: Set a timer for a few minutes, three if you are just starting out, more if you desire more.  Find a comfortable position. Take a few breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Say aloud or focus on a word or a phrase.  Try, “hope, peace, love, joy” or “Be still and know that I am,” or just one word that describes your intention for today.  When the timer chimes, breathe a few more breaths.
  2. Nature walk or nature sit: Go outside and breathe in the fresh air.  Leave behind your to-do list as you walk or sit under the trees or by the water or through the garden.
  3. Smile: When you find yourself in a long line or a crowded waiting room and getting restless or frustrated, choose to smile.  Practicing joy helps bring joy about for you and potentially for those around you.
  4. Gratitude: Take a few minutes to think of three things for which you are grateful.  Extra points if you write or illustrate them in a gratitude journal.
  5. Sing: Singing requires no great talent, only a voice and the willingness to use it.  Sing a capella or with a friend or along with a favorite performer.  Sing for the joy of it.
  6. Create art: Creation of beauty is part of the human experience.  Draw a picture, paint colors on a page, print a coloring page and color it in, create a collage of cut paper or glue and found items.
  7. Read a poem: Check out poetry books from the library or search the internet for poems.  Choose a theme, perhaps one of the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy, or love.  Reflect on the poems meaning.  Read it out loud and see if it feels different from reading it silently. Extra points: Share it with a friend who would appreciate it.
  8. Call a friend for a chat: Set aside time to call and check in.  There is no need for an agenda.  Just call to them you are thinking of them.  Text works also.
  9. Pray: There is no need for special words or even any words.  Just take some time to commune with the Divine.  Open your mind and your heart, feel your feelings, know that you are heard and loved.

This is only a beginning.  There are many other ways that you can slow down, take time to rest, and find a few extra moments of joy.

Sacred is the pause that draws us into stillness.

Nourishing are the moments when we step away from busyness.

Teach us the wisdom of pausing.

Reveal to us the goodness of stopping to breathe.

Bring to our memory the truth that we are the temple

out of which you pour your gifts into the world.

We are the temple from which you sing your songs.

We are the temple out of which you bless.

Enable us to listen to the renewal you are trying to bring about in us and through us.

Amen.

–Monica Wiederkehr

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