The warmest of season’s greetings to everyone!
It’s a crazy, jam packed, run everywhere, sit in traffic jams with all those “other” wacky drivers time, I know. But as you know, there is another side of things that is meant just for you. A place to be mindful, thoughtful, and seek affirmation, meaning, and strength. For all the responsibilities, logistics, and stress this time of year, it strikes me as all this is the exact opposite of what the natural world is doing. The bears and turtles are hibernating, the butterflies cocooning, the trees dormant … all slowed down and resting now, waiting for that blanket of snow to come and protect them as they sleep, rest, save their energy. But we humans do things our own way don’t we?
So if you want a little time to answer the more natural callings from within … prayer, mindfulness, being together to remember we live to make a difference, time to feel connected to God and each other … have a look at what’s below and see if you can find time for yourself to do self-care, soul-care – and care of the planet.
One special effort, among many outreach ministries that matter to St. Andrew’s so much, is “The Nice List.” It is a project we are doing all through Advent and Christmas! It’s a very simple idea. Everyone is well into their Christmas plans, shopping, etc. by now. But in the church we really don’t even start talking about Christmas in a big way until its right on us! So this year we decided to prepare in a different way. You all probably remember the old Wish Book and making a list of presents you hoped Santa would bring. And we all remember the “Naughty and Nice” list right?
Well, our kids rolled out a loooong strip of paper the length of the church (!!!) and we are using it as our Nice List (there is no Naughty!). Every Sunday the kids and adults are invited to write the nice things they did this week, whether it was giving someone a hug, or helping with major efforts that make a difference, like donations to Phoenix House, Missions to Seafarers, the Marguerite Centre, the food bank, and so on.
By Christmas, the Nice List will give us a sense of the differences we have made, as an expression of what faith is about. In the words of St. James, faith without good works is useless. Let’s be about doing good things that actually make a difference!
A few other awesome things:
Turkey Supper – Saturday, December 2 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm
Children’s Christmas Shopping Day – Saturday, December 9 from 10:00 to Noon
Tree Lighting and Carols Sunday, December 10 at 6:00 pm
They are special services that use a different kind of worship. Inclusive language with images of God and us that are about good love. We use the New Zealand version of the Lord’s Prayer (so different and so beautiful). The Sunday School will have special readings for lighting the Advent wreath. And let’s not forget the Nice List! Among other topics, the children’s talks will focus on the Nice List too.
Christmas Eve Services
4pm Family Service, including the Sunday School Christmas Play, special music, a children’s talk (no sermon, as the focus is on the little ones), and Holy Eucharist (Christmas Eve prayers) and candle light for the departing hymn.
6pm Contemporary Worship Service with Holy Eucharist and special music, Christmas Eve meditation, blessing of the crèche, and candle light for the departing hymn. We will also have a time for reading all the names of those being remembered on our Angel Tree of loved ones so near to us in spirit.
10pm Traditional Service, including Eucharist, and the very beautiful music of the Cardinal Points. Candle light for the departing hymn, of course! And we will also be reading the names remembered on our Angel Tree.
Please be aware that as Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, there will not be any morning services. Just the Christmas Eve services as listed above.
May you come to the crib of the Christ Child this year, with a good sense of how you have been moving to change the world, one act of goodness at a time. Your gift to God.