Advent at Trinity
Advent is a special time at Trinity, as we prepare our hearts and minds for the miracle that is Christmas. A candle in the Advent Wreath is lit during worship each of the four Sundays of Advent. The candles will be part of a special mountain top art installation designed and built by a Trinity member to represent Trinity's worship theme of "Mountains and Valleys".
As we think of our "Mountains and Valleys" theme we also remember this scripture which will be defining our Advent worship this year:
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:4-6)
These stirring words come from the prophet Isaiah and were used by the writers of the gospel to help people understand the ministry of John the Baptist, the one sent to prepare the way for Jesus. On one level, the imagery here is very common and physical. The writer is describing the construction of a road to be built in order to make it easier for the Lord’s arrival. During the course of history all sorts of roads have been made; for commerce as well as for conquest. The description given in the verses above however is of a highway for God, one that will enable God’s holiness and truth to find greater access to all areas of life. So on another level these verses are deeply spiritual. They invite us to prepare for God’s coming by making our own paths straight, by doing things like filling valleys of ignorance and bringing down mountains of prejudice and pride, by establishing greater justice and a more “level playing field,” by straightening out crooked thinking and smoothing rough places that continue to resist the full in-breaking of the Kingdom or Reign of God.
These words from the prophet Isaiah, as well as the ministry of John the Baptist, offer clues as to how best to prepare for God’s coming once again. The help us better understand how to get ready for Christmas, for God’s love being born anew in our world and lives today. The prophets of old suggest we are to continue to do what we can to right wrongs, to lift up the lowly and make sure the mighty are humble. We are to make it easier for people to see and know the glory and salvation of God. We have numerous opportunities to do these very things every day of our lives and certainly through our shared life as a community of faith. During this Advent Season, let’s make sure we ponder those things which do indeed help prepare the way for God’s coming and those things that really don’t. May we choose wisely so that we – and others – will be able to know the glory of the Lord with greater fullness.
Advent will conclude with three services on Christmas Eve featuring the altar festively decorated with memorial poinsettias.
5:30 PM: Children’s Service in Grace Chapel This service is geared toward families with younger children. Young people will be invited to participate in building a “nativity scene” during the service. We will also tie in our year-long theme of mountains and valleys throughout the service. Stories, prayers, dance, and singing make up this gentle, early evening service.
8:00 PM: Christmas Eve Service in the Sanctuary The format for this service is based upon our usual Sunday morning order of worship. The focus however is on the good news of Jesus’ birth. A special Children’s Moment and Sermon will be offered on this holy night, along with Christmas hymns and beautiful music throughout the service. This is the most popular service attendance-wise on Christmas Eve.
11:00 PM: Candle Light Service of Lessons and Carols in the Sanctuary This service consists of a repeated pattern of readings, songs, and anthems that tell the story of the birth of Jesus. A special prayer for Christmas Eve and Christmas mediation will be offered. In addition, beautiful music will play an important role throughout this late night celebration. A highlight of this service is the offering of the Dance Movement Choir which will conclude with a special candle lighting ceremony. Come, invite a neighbor or friend, and welcome early Christmas morning together on this holy night.
During Advent, there are a number of special events to help celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Visit December at Trinity for details of the activities.
Advent Workshop on December 2 from 9 to 10 am. Instead of the regular church school classes, children, youth, family and friends are invited to Asbury Hall from for our annual Advent workshop. There will be music, crafts, and sweet treats. Come make something to eat, to keep, and to give away.
Christmas Concert in the sanctuary for the Tuesday Morning Music Club on December 4 at 10:30 am featuring the Trinity Handbell Choir along with singers Devon Bakum, Teri LaFleur, Holly Joy Pearson, and flutist, Janet Dixon-Metcalf and directed by Becky Isaacson.The program is based on the Twelve Days of Christmas and will feature a wide variety of Christmas music. This program is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in Asbury Hall.
“Go Tell It On the Mountain!” Christmas Caroling will be held on Saturday December 8. All interested church members and friends are invited to gather in Asbury Hall at 12:00 Noon. From Asbury Hall we will car pool together to visit some shut-in and home-bound members of the congregation to sing Christmas carols, talk, and leave each one with a small gift and blessing. You don’t have to be a member of a choir to participate. All that is needed is a desire to join with others to sing and bring some joy to people who don’t get out for worship as much as they used to be able to do. All ages are welcome and encouraged to participate in this rewarding activity.
Chamber Singers and Handbell Choir Choir Christmas Concert — The Trinity Handbell Choir and Chamber Singers will present traditional and contemporary Christmas music in the sanctuary on Sunday, December 9 at 3:30 p.m. The Chamber Singers will sing a variety of a cappella Christmas music. The program will consist of traditional carols including “I Saw Three Ships,” “Sussex Carol,” and “I Wander as I Wonder” and will conclude with some fun secular music including “Jingle Bells.” Assisting the Chamber Singers on several pieces will be the Chamberettes, a group of 17 young women. Also performing on the program will be the 10 member handbell choir. Admission is free and refreshments will be served following the concert.
“Let Heaven and Nature Sing!” Annual Christmas Night Hike Our 12th Annual Night Hike will take place on Sunday, December 23 at 5:30 pm. Come to Asbury Hall for a light supper. Soup and macaroni and cheese will be provided; please bring fruit, veggies, bread or dessert to share. After supper, we’ll hear some Christmas stories and then venture out into Forest Park for tree decorating and singing. All ages are welcome! Please bring an environmentally friendly ornament for the birds and forest creatures to enjoy and be sure to dress warmly!
Angel Tree — Trinity members purchase two gifts each for 65 children who have a parent who is incarcerated.
Mitten Tree-- Trinity members decorate a tree with new hats, mittens, and scarves to be donated to needy students at Sumner Ave. School the week before Christmas. This is yet another way that we remember our neighbors who are less fortunate and prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.
Christmas Is Not Your Birthday –- Each year during Advent Trinity members and friends are invited to make a special monetary gift in honor of Christ’s birth for people who would benefit from this additional financial support. This year people are invited to give to Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), Central America Missions, and general local mission projects.