December 2020 Tidings

Pastor’s Ponderings

We are right in the middle of the time of year, I like to call, “Hallowthankmas.” As soon as the back-to-school items are cleared from the shelves, the costumes and candy for Halloween appear. And then, the day after Halloween, the shelves are loaded with Thanksgiving decor. And over the past few years, Christmas decorations appear even before Thanksgiving happens. These three holidays all seem to blend together into what I now call Hallowthankmas.

This year has been a year like no other with the coronavirus exploding around us, especially this fall. Our neighbors had to be creative in handing out candy safely, if children even came to their houses. Now, COVID-19 is so bad, our governor has advised that no one gather with anyone outside of their own household for Thanksgiving. We can only imagine what Christmas will look like.

But before we get to Christmas, the church takes four weeks to prepare for the Christ-child coming. We call these 4 weeks leading up to Christmas “Advent.” While our culture gets so busy, at this time, planning, baking, buying and decorating, Advent invites us into a period of waiting. It actually teaches us the art of waiting. Advent is one time in the year when the church says, “Waiting may be difficult, but we have to wait, so let’s wait together.”

This year, the Worship and Music Committee is inviting each household to make an Advent wreath (see picture) to help us watch and wait for the coming of the Christ child. Since many of us are staying in our homes, this can be a wonderful activity for families of many, or a family of one.

Making the wreath

When making an Advent wreath, you may consider using only natural materials from God’s creation. Wreaths can be made of holly, laurel, pine, and other green shrubs. Artificial greenery is available at dollar stores if you do not have access to fresh greenery. 

A wreath is usually circular shape. The circular shape of the wreath is a symbol of eternal life. 

Candles. Four candles represent the four weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas. Each week, we invite you to light a candle and say a prayer centered around the themes for each candle.

  • The first week of Advent, you will light one candle. This candle represents, “Hope.” 
  • The second week, you will light two candles. The second candle represents, “Love.” 
  • The third week you will light three candles. The third candle represents, “Joy.”
  • The fourth week you will light all four candles. The fourth candle represents, “Peace.”

There is no one prescribed color for the candles. Four natural colored candles are always appropriate and symbolize the Light for which we wait. As the days get shorter, in the darkest time of the year, we wait with longing for the slow return of light. Four blue candles match the blue used in the church for the season of Advent—a color representing hope. In the darkness of winter, in times when things look bleak, we know the Christ-child, is coming into being.

The Worship and Music Committee is asking you to send a picture of your wreath to the church office. We would like to share your pictures on Facebook. 

May God bring you hope, love, joy and peace during this time of Hallowthankmas!

Pr. Christine

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