Here is an idea to help you remember and practice the true spirit of Christmas. Don’t feel confined by these ideas - they are just suggestions. Advent is short this year because Christmas Eve is on Sunday but don’t stop till you finish all four weeks! (with thanks to our friends at Orleans United Church for the idea).
A Different Kind of Advent Calendar
Week 1 HOPE (December 3 to 9)
Sunday: Pray for our Aylmer United Church family
Monday: Make Christmas cookies to share
Tuesday: Go outside for a walk with your family
Wednesday: Phone someone who needs cheering up
Thursday: Take a deep breath and notice the beauty around you
Friday: Put up the crèche in your house - if you don’t have one, make one!
Saturday: Say hello to a stranger
Week 2 PEACE December 10 to 16)
Sunday: Pray for our White Gift recipients
Monday: Make a donation to your favourite charity
Tuesday: Smile at everyone you meet
Wednesday: Phone someone to wish them Merry Christmas
Thursday: Remember what the Christmas Spirit is all about
Friday: Write a hope-filled Christmas letter to your friends
Saturday: Offer a sincere compliment
Week 3 JOY (December 17 to 23)
Sunday: Pray for our Christmas family
Monday: When stopped at a traffic light, wave to the people in the next car
Tuesday: Say thank you for a kindness done
Wednesday: Invite someone out for coffee, tea or hot chocolate
Thursday: Make a donation to a charity you have not supported before
Friday: Read a story to a child
Saturday: Thank someone for helping you
Week 4 LOVE (December 24 to 30)
Sunday: Pray for the world God loves so much
Christmas Day: Open Christmas presents together, appreciating each one
Tuesday: Bake some more Christmas cookies to share
(remember the season of Christmas lasts 12 days!)
Wednesday: Bring greetings to your neighbours
Thursday: Take some quiet time to count your blessings
Friday: Tell someone you love what you have learned this year
about the meaning of Christmas
Saturday: Send someone a love note
Have fun and let me know how it goes.
This Sunday is the end of the year. No, you have not missed a whole month! It is the end of the church liturgical year. "Liturgy" refers to all those things that we associate with worship. As we follow the liturgical year we celebrate the different seasons of the church. Just as the calendar year has winter, spring summer and fall, the liturgical or church year begins with Advent and moves through the seasons of Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Creation and Thanksgiving. We end the year with Reign of Christ Sunday (this Sunday, November 26). That means next week is the beginning of Advent. Throughout the four Sundays of Advent special symbols and reminders of the coming of Christmas - the coming of Christ - will appear as we prepare for that most important moment - Christmas Eve when we celebrate Jesus' birth.
Here is our Advent-Christmas schedule:
Sunday December 3 10:30 - Advent 1 HOPE Communion
Sunday December 10 10:30 - Advent 2 PEACE Sunday School Service and White Gift
Sunday December 17 10:30 - Advent 3 JOY
Thursday December 21 7:00pm Longest Night Service
Sunday December 24 10:30 - Advent 4 LOVE
December 24 5:00pm Community Christmas Eve Service
Come to church. Bring your family and friends as together we journey through Advent in anticipation of the birth of Jesus.
It is snow tire season in Québec. As predictable as the leaves falling in October, every day in November there is another vehicle sporting snow tires in our neighbourhood. Seasons change. Times change. And we do too.
What is shifting inside you these days as autumn slides into winter? Do you look forward to the colder weather? The promised snow? Does your soul open up as the leaves fall? Or do you feel yourself closing in; looking for moments and places of comfort and warmth? When you look inside, what is happening inside your spirit? Inside your mind? Inside your body?
These are soul questions. These are theological questions. They give us clues into our relationship with God. They help us see what God is up to in our lives.
There are no right or wrong answers to such questions. We need both the times of opening up and anticipation, as well as the more reflective times in our lives. It is the balance of engagement and introspection; of offering and receiving; of moving outward and returning to our centre, that is essential to our well-being. In all of these places, in all of these moments we have the opportunity to meet God. God is there waiting for us to notice and to respond. Sometimes I think God loves these shifting season times because we are more likely to be aware when things are changing. When we are aware we are more open to welcoming God more deeply. And this, I believe, makes God's heart sing!
This weekend I will be in New Brunswick helping my Mom celebrate her 95th birthday. Boyd will lead worship on Sunday in my absence. We are grateful to him for his generous gift of worship leadership. We will be back to the regular schedule of 10:30 worship.
Let's go deeper. Deeper into the heart of who we are at Aylmer United Church, and where we want to go in the future.
That's exactly what we will do this Sunday, Nov 12 when we engage in our third congregational visioning day as we look toward a sustainable and life-giving future for our church. Again, Sharon Moon will be our facilitator. As always Sharon has some fun exercises to help us do our work.
This Sunday will take a different shape than usual. Our worship and workshop will all take place in the downstairs hall.
Come join us! Bring your enthusiasm, and your creative minds and hearts - oh yes - and a cushion for your chair!
This Sunday we will mark Remembrance Day as we worship together.
These past few days have been a series of holidays. The one we celebrate most in Canada is of course Halloween, which has become a time of fun and magic for children. We had one hundred visitors at our door on Tuesday night. From babes sound asleep to grandparents accompanying their little ninjas, dinosaurs and unicorns. Boyd and I love to dress up too!
But Halloween is not just about candy and being out late at night! Originally it was called All Hallow's Eve and ushered in All Saints Day on November 1. All Souls Day is November 2. These church holidays remind us to honour those who no longer live amongst us. Those who have died and whose memory we honour and give thanks for. In Mexico a similar holiday is called Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
So this is a week of remembering, and giving thanks. It is a week to mourn, but also to remember what we have been given by those who are no longer with us.
Take some time this week to remember the saints in your life. Those who gave you gifts of themselves when they were here with you. How do they continue to inspire you? How are you living their legacy?