Advent begins this Sunday. It’s a season of watchfulness, becoming like Mary, making space for Christ not only around us, but within us. As a congregation we hear familiar texts and sing songs of the season that invite us deeper into the story. Here are three things to know about Advent with CMC this year:
+ Worship Theme
For the last two months we’ve been contemplating what it means to be Sanctuary People. Advent will build on this focus with the theme Inner Sanctuary. We will look to Mary as the primary model of one who made her life a sanctuary, her body a place for God to dwell. We’ve written a brief Sanctuary prayer that we’ll pray in English and Spanish to begin each service. We’ve invited other congregations to pray this with us. The adult choir and children are preparing music and performance for the weekend of December 16-17. Because December 24th is a Sunday this year, our annual Christmas Eve evening service will be the only service that day.
+ Coloring = Prayer
The SALT Project has produced some lovely resources based on five coloring pages, designed specifically for Advent. Each one features Mary in a different stage of pregnancy and expectation, surrounded by life and images from the biblical stories. In large poster form, these will serve as the backdrop of our worship setting. In coloring page form, they will be available in your church mailbox and in the foyer to take home and enjoy – children and adults. Please take as many as you need. We hope you can decorate your home with them. We’re also asking you to bring some finished pages back to the church and place in a box in the foyer so they can add color to our Advent worship environment. I’m attaching the first two coloring pages below in case you wish to print at home and get a head start. For adults not already in a Sunday school class, feel free to join me during that hour in the fellowship hall December 3, 10, and 17 for coloring and conversation. Finally, along with the posters and coloring pages, there are devotional booklets that include the images, poetry by Mary Oliver and Howard Thurman, a brief meditation, and suggestions for weekly practices throughout Advent.
+ Giving Projects
For the next couple weeks there will be two boxes in the foyer, side-by-side, each for gift cards. One collection is for the YWCA Family Center which is requesting cards in $25 increments from Walmart, Target, Meijer, or Giant Eagle which they will give to families in the community. The other collection is for Edith and the Espinal family who would most benefit from cards from Kroger, Aldi, and Walmart. Gifts cards have the benefit of giving families the opportunity to select items they most need and prefer. An added bonus is that these can be ordered through the Convention Cash form, which enables a percentage of the gift to support our Youth Group. This form is also attached, with orders due to Mary Blosser this Sunday (see tomorrow’s email announcements for more details). If you don’t make that deadline, you can still talk with Mary, or get the gift cards directly from the store.
This Advent, may this be our prayer:
God our Sanctuary, grant us and our neighbors, near and far, courage in our hearts, peace in our homes, and justice in our streets. Amen
Dios nuestro Santuario, concédenos y a nuestros vecinos, cercana y lejana, coraje en nuestros corazones, paz en nuestros hogares, y justicia en nuestras calles. Amen.