Decorating the sanctuary for Christmas 2017.
How do you prepare for Christmas? Perhaps you get out the Christmas lights and ornaments and adorn the house with festive attire. Perhaps you bake Christmas cookies or break out other favorite holiday recipes to prepare. Perhaps you light candles on the Advent wreath…watching and waiting as the darkness slowly grows lighter and lighter with each successive candle week by week. Perhaps you focus on preparing your heart, mind, and soul for the coming of Christ by diving deeper into devotion and prayer. Perhaps you are readying for God’s arrival through acts of service and help to those for whom this season is difficult – those who lack warm shelter, access to food, safety, or companionship. Whatever way you are preparing this year, may God stir up your spirit and ignite your heart with hope, peace, joy, and love.
This year, our theme at St. Mark for Advent is “Preparing the Way.” As we journey through this season of Christ’s coming together in worship, we will be introduced to prophets or God’s messengers who helped prepare God’s people for Jesus’ arrival. We will also meet individuals who faced the unexpected and continued to prepare for Jesus, trusting in the promises of God for their lives. Check out the themes for the following Sundays:
Advent 1 (Dec 2) – Preparing to bring hope
Advent 2 (Dec 9) – Preparing to make peace
Advent 3 (Dec 16) – Preparing to have joy
Advent 4 (Dec 23) – Preparing to embrace love
If you have a family or know of one that would be interested in doing devotions together, St. Mark has Preparing the Way Advent Family Devotions available. These devotions create time and space to prepare for Jesus through scripture readings, discussions and activities together. They will be available at church in the entry way (Narthex) starting December 2, or are available for download if you e-mail me (email@example.com). They are published by Illustrated Children’s Ministry and include creative and detailed coloring pages for children of all ages to enjoy.
At our house, we are preparing this Advent for the baptism of our youngest son, Luke, on Sunday, December 23 at St. Mark’s 9:30 a.m. worship service. We’d like to invite you all to join us! We’ve been waiting and waiting (an Advent discipline) for the right time for both sides of our family and friends to be able to come to Florida for this milestone in Luke’s life. We’ve been waiting in joyful anticipation of how God will be revealed in the power of grace and resurrection that are proclaimed in God’s gift of baptism. We are so excited that the time has finally come to welcome Luke into God’s family. We hope you can join us!
St. Mark is a Reconciling in Christ Congregation.
The Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program is for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other Lutheran organizations. Lutheran communities that publicly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are accepted onto the Reconciling in Christ Roster which now exceeds 600 settings.
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For more than 100 years, the Mission Investment Fund and its predecessors have been financing church-related building projects and land purchases. The money invested will fund building loans to churches and help spread God's word. The Mission Investment Fund is a resource for church building and much more.
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