First Sunday of Advent
INTRODUCTION TO THE DAY
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Stir up your power, and come! The psalmist’s plea in Psalm 80:2 has become familiar to us in the Advent prayers. Isaiah wants God to rip the heavens open. Both cry out for an apparently distant, angry God to show up, to save, to restore. When we hear Jesus describing the coming of the Son of Man with stars falling from heaven, it can sound dire and horrible, not like anything we would ever hope for. But when we really look at the suffering of people God loves, we can share the hope that God would tear open the heavens and come.
One of the best-known customs for this season is the Advent wreath. The wreath and winter candle-lighting in the midst of growing darkness strengthen some of the Advent images found in the Bible. The unbroken circle of greens is clearly an image of everlasting life, a victory wreath, the crown of Christ, or the wheel of time itself. Christians use the wreath as a sign that Christ reaches into our time to lead us to the light of everlasting life. The four candles mark the progress of the four weeks of Advent and the growth of light. Sometimes the wreath is embellished with natural dried flowers or fruit. Its evergreen branches lead the household and the congregation to the evergreen Christmas tree. In many homes, the family gathers for prayers around the wreath.
FIRST READING: Isaiah 64: 1-9
The lament comes from a people who have had their hopes shattered. The visions of a rebuilt Jerusalem and a renewed people of God, spoken of in Isaiah 40 to 55, have not been realized. Instead, the people experience ruin, conflict, and famine. This lament calls God to account—to be the God who has brought deliverance in the past.
PSALM: Psalm 80: 1-18
SECOND READING: 1st Corinthians 1: 3-9
As the Christians in Corinth await the advent of Jesus, Paul reminds them how the Lord has already enriched them through spiritual gifts and will continue to strengthen them until the coming day of the Lord.
GOSPEL: Mark 13: 24-37
In today’s reading, Jesus encourages his followers to look forward to the day when he returns in power and glory to end all suffering.
SUNDAY DISCUSSIONS BEFORE CHURCH – We meet at 9:45 on Sunday mornings to have discussions before the service each week. We currently are reading C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity.
DECEMBER 3rd – Happy Church New Year and the beginning of Advent.
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 9-10 a.m. at the Community Center. Instructor-led workouts. Want some exercise? This is where to find it.
DECEMBER 9th – Official start of Christmas in the Park.
FROM LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF
You are in my prayers of gratitude today. Because as I sit down at my Thanksgiving table, reminders of your kindness are everywhere.
Because you have shared your abundance, children who were hungry now have full bellies.
Because of your compassion, families recovering from disaster have clean water to drink.
Even the roof over my head reminds me of how you’ve provided safe shelter for children, women and men who lost everything.
Thank you for sharing Christ’s love with your neighbors around the world.
May God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving, as you have been a blessing to others.
Ambassador Daniel Speckhard,
President and CEO
Please keep these people in your prayers: Michael Koch, Margret Phillips' 1-year-old granddaughter Aurora Lander, Wesley and JoAnn Porter, Nicole Biler Robinette, Mike and Donna Toy, and all of those who are still suffering from diseases or other health issues, as well as their families.
Please remember all of our shut ins and sick: Arlene Castor. (Also, pray for the families and caretakers of those on the prayer list.)
FUNDS FOR ZION
Please check the bulletin board behind the office door for all of the sign-up sheets for this year. Communion, birthday Sundays, and Worship Assistants/helpers. Thank you so much!
You can also remember special occasions or special people by contributing money that would normally be used for altar flowers. Instead the donation goes to our local food pantry.