Advent begins December 3. Advent is the season of preparation for Christmas. For Christians, it doesn’t mean decorating the house, baking cookies, and buying gifts. There is nothing wrong with these things unless that’s all our preparation involves. Even with all the other important and fun things we do, our spiritual preparations must take priority.

The word Advent means “coming.” During Advent we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s coming as a babe in Bethlehem. It’s important that we don’t just skip this time of waiting and preparing our hearts. It is as we do that, that we experience Christ coming into our hearts and lives today. Advent is also a time when we anticipate the coming of Christ again to fully establish his kingdom on earth.

With all the expectations we have from our families and friends and even those we put on ourselves, it’s easy to get busy and neglect the most important things. Ask God to help you put first things first.

At church our Advent observance begins December 3, with the “Hanging of the Greens” led by the children at both morning services. At noon we will have a church-wide dish-to pass meal. On Saturday, December 9, at 11 AM we will hold our annual “Blue Christmas” service for those who are grieving or struggling with other issues during the season when everyone else seems so joyful. The choir will present the annual cantata at both morning services on December 17.

This year Christmas Eve is a Sunday. We will only have one service in the morning at 10 AM. That service will mark the end of Advent. Our candlelight Christmas Eve services will be held at 5 PM (for Children and Families), at 7:30 PM (a traditional service with the choir), and at 11 PM (Communion will be offered).

I hope you’ll join us for these special services and bring your family and friends so that Christ will be the center of our celebration. I pray you will experience Christ in fresh ways this season.

Tom and I, Pastor Jerry and Helen, and the rest of the staff of Aldersgate wish you a joy-filled and blessed Christmas and New Year!

Pastor Anne

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