Happy Advent and Merry Christmas,
from the Parish Family of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Timberlea.
As Rector it is my joyful privilege to invite you to share in the four weeks of Advent, a time of sharing an awareness of what is happening in our world, and within ourselves. Advent is a time to feel and connect with all the things that matter in our shared humanity, and to let ourselves connect with two things that affect us the most. Whether we are seeing and feeling the suffering and unfairness of people close or far.
Amidst our global reality, and our personal lives, we get to share a story we have all known since childhood: the Nativity. In this very humble tale of a child being born we look for inspiration and light, and see a message about love that carries us through each day.
We all come to this time of Advent with our own stories of miracles, hardships, losses, challenges, strength and struggles.
Some of us face a first Christmas without someone we love, which is so hard because so much has changed and we ask how we can carry both sadness and light together. Some of us come to a Christmas unlike what we expected, because life has changed so much in just one year. We seek new strength, new purpose or simply company, comfort and understanding.
Some of us come to Christmas like we have so many times before with the same old story, tree and decorations. Can Christmas possibly offer anything we haven’t seen dozens of times before? Some of us come feeling grateful and blessed, hearts filled with family time, the voices of children and grandchildren, lifelong friends, aware of what this year has given us and taken from us. We ask God to give birth within us the ability to cherish our love, faith, family, friends, and pray that with all life brings us, we do our best day by day to see God is with us as we are with one another. We begin again with the baby Jesus, and follow in his footsteps.
I invite you to let the church be the place that holds you, whoever you are, however you are. Bring your loss, emptiness, happiness, celebration, depression, anxiety, laughter, energy. Bring it here. Let yourself be embraced by a community full of people who bring all of those things too. Bring it to the manger, look upon a very human story full of people with the same weaknesses and strengths as us. Look upon the face of a baby, the most beautiful thing we and God can create together, and listen for whatever God may say to you.
There are many chances to feel and be yourself, however you are. There are lots of chances to be surrounded by good people, and God.
Throughout Advent we will be sharing a lovely modern Eucharist and Advent Wreath lighting at each 10:30 am service and our traditional worship at 9:00 am.
On December 8th beginning at 10:00 am, we will host our awesome annual Children’s Christmas Shopping Day! Thoughtful and beautiful gifts have been gathered from here there and everywhere, and families and children are invited to come and find something special for someone they love. Gifts are offered very inexpensively and meant as a chance for little ones to choose something for mom or dad, brothers or sisters, or a special friend.
On Christmas Eve we will meet at 4:00 pm for an enjoyable and unique family service, designed for children and their families to enjoy. Our Sunday School students and teachers are involved in a special way. There will be a children’s talk rather than a sermon.
At 6:30 pm Christmas Eve we will be enjoying a Contemporary Eucharist meant to connect the meaning of a very old story with a very modern world. At 10:00 pm we will enjoy a Traditional Eucharist, along with some beautiful music shared by the Cardinal Points. A very lovely way to bring Christmas Eve to a close!
In the somewhat chaotic and tiring pace of all that leads up to Christmas, we hope St. Andrew’s will provide a sacred, thoughtful and embracing place, for your heart, mind, body and soul.
May God’s peace be with you,
The Rev’d Mark Pretty