Advent 2023: What Can’t Wait
Advent is a season of waiting, but is idle waiting what God wants of us? In preparation for the coming Messiah, we wonder together—what things can’t wait? What demands our immediate attention? What requires our work and preparation? What is it that God can’t wait for? Is it our praise, reconciliation, and proclamation? Is it the end of suffering, isolation, and fear? This Advent, we invite you to join us in imagining, prioritizing, and preparing. As we wait, what can’t?
WHAT CAN’T WAIT WORSHIP SCHEDULE
Advent is a time of expectation and waiting as we light the candles and count down to the birth of Jesus. This year’s theme is a play on that concept: What CAN’T Wait
December 3: God’s Promised Day Can’t Wait
December 10: Repentance Can’t Wait
December 17: Delight Can’t Wait
December 24: Courage Can’t Wait
ADVENT CANDLE LIGHTERS: Families and groups are invited to sign up to light our Advent candles during Sunday morning services from December 3 through 24, plus Christmas Eve. A script is provided. This is a great way to celebrate the meaning of the season together with your family. If interested, please contact Rev. Lee.
S’MUSIC & S’MORES
Sunday, December 3rd 5-7:00pm. Join us for a festive evening of Christmas fun! There will be S’mores & Hot Chocolate, Live Music, Crafts, a Baked Potato Bar, and a Live Nativity. This is a wonderful inter-generational event for people of all ages.
Sign up to bring a potato topping or hot chocolate ingredient. We would also love a few volunteers to help with set up and clean up. Additionally, we will be collecting men’s winter coats (new or gently used, S, M, or L – NO XL).
To go along with our “What Can’t Wait” series, several Bible studies will be offered.
What Can’t Wait: An Advent Study of Second Isaiah will be offered on Monday nights at 7pm in person with Rev. Lee (beginning 11/27) and Tuesday nights via Zoom at 7:30pm with Rev. Byron (beginning 11/28).
November 27/28 Hope for God’s Promised Day Can’t Wait
Isaiah 40: 1-11, Isaiah 42:1-17, Isaiah 44:21-23
December 4/5 God’s Mighty Act of Salvation Can’t Wait
Isaiah 45:1-19, Isaiah 46: 1-13
December 11/12 Joy Can’t Wait
Isaiah 49:5-18, Isaiah 51:1-6, Isaiah 52: 1-10
December 18/19 Courage Can’t Wait
Isaiah 54:1-17, Isaiah 55:1-13
The Women’s Bible Study Group will be reading An Unlikely Advent: Extraordinary People of the Christmas Story by Rachel Billups. This 4-week Advent study explores the themes of hope, love, joy, and peace through the stories of Elizabeth and Zechariah, Herod, the Magi, and the shepherds. Each set of unexpected characters has something to teach about living faithfully on the journey to Christmas. Join us Monday nights at 8:15pm via Zoom. Email Brenda with questions. Books available on Amazon.
On Wednesday nights at 7pm, Rev. Narae will be leading a study called From Hope to Love: An Advent Journey of Study, Meditation, & Expression.
CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PAGEANT
It is a very special SPUMC tradition that our 2nd graders are the stars in the Christmas Pageant during the 4:00pm Family Christmas Eve Service. We intentionally keep our pageants simple. There are no lines to memorize, and the costumes are provided.
We will have ONE rehearsal on Sunday, December 17 at 12:00pm. There is a part for every child who wishes to participate and is able to attend. If you have any questions, you may contact Children’s Ministry Director, Erica Benjamin (email@example.com). To sign up your child, please complete the online form by December 6.
With Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday this year, we are adjusting both our morning and evening schedules to create a very full day of worship options for you and your family. All of our worship services will be distinct so you are welcome to join us both in the morning (4th Sunday in Advent) and again in the evening when we pull out all the stops!
9am | Contemporary Worship
11am | Traditional Worship
4pm | Family Service & Pageant
7pm | Traditional Christmas Eve with Brass
9pm | Traditional Christmas Eve with Brass
Staff Christmas Gift Picks
The Church Staff has put together a list of some of their seasonal favorites to nourish your soul or maybe someone else’s this Advent & Christmas. They include books and music and would make for great gifts with a spiritual dimension for a friend or family member — or maybe even for yourself!
A is for Alabaster is the work of beloved preacher and writer Anna Carter Florence who brings winsome insight to an array of characters and stories in the Bible-some celebrated and some overlooked. From courageous Abigail to Zelophehad’s daughters, and from an alabaster jar of ointment to Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree, Florence takes readers on an enchanting tour of the Old and New Testaments with reflections that reveal ancient wisdom and spark imagination anew. I’ve been enjoying reading through two or three of these each morning this fall (they’re 2-4 pages long for the most part) to ground myself for the day and invite me into these stories in some fresh and inspiring ways. ~ Rev. Ron
It was through one of my all-time favorite Advent books that I discovered the soul-shaping writing of Jan Richardson. Not only does she write beautifully, but she is also an accomplished artist in multiple mediums. In Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas both of these gifts are on full display. Reflections on the unfolding story of incarnation through the biblical texts and through ordinary events and moments combine for a tender and thoughtful read. ~ Rev. Ron
If you are looking for a good book on the the history of Christmas itself, I can recommend two that each offer their own take on one of our most sacred and secularized holidays, one listen to and one to read. The first is Bill Bryson’s The Secret History of Christmas (only available on Audible) and it is written with his characteristic insight and humor. Christmas is the single biggest annual event on the planet and stuffed full of traditions and rituals that most of us have been observing all our lives without having the slightest idea of where they come from. Bryson’s book will take you on an informative and entertaining joy ride.
If you want a book with a bit more spiritual depth that also digs into the many popular global expressions of Christmas through the centuries, I’d recommend Christmas: Festival of Incarnation by Donald Heinz. Heinz’s thick description of the religious and cultural history of Christmas, from its origins in the sacred texts of early Christianity to the figure of Santa Claus to the commercial spree of today, is a marvelous pilgrimage through lived religion as it appears in folk expressions, music, art, and literature. It’s a denser read than Bryson’s that takes a bit of commitment to get through, but isn’t Advent a season for slowing down and savoring the incarnation? ~ Rev. Ron