If you missed it, click on the image to view a Thanksgiving greeting from Walker Chapel. Thank you to all who helped make our Stack the Steps event possible and welcome new members Reid, Rachel and Bennett Parham!
ADVENT - A Time of Preparing
by Dawn Kyser
In the Baptist household that I grew up in we were in the habit of jumping from Palm Sunday to Easter and Thanksgiving to Christmas without looking back. Santa brought our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after children went to bed. Waking up on Christmas morning was magical, without a doubt, and I still don’t put up my tree much before Christmas. In college and in different church experiences, I met friends that celebrated the season of Advent with an Advent Wreath, particularly for family devotions at the dinner table. Despite the chaos of two or three jobs, four children, sports, music, and animals, we made a commitment to have dinner together and to spend time lighting the Advent candles. The electronics are silent, the phones put in another room.. There is time for conversation, meditation, prayer, silence, and listening.
This year I encourage you to bring the spiritual practice of the Advent Wreath into your home and into your practice. You have everything you need at home! Here’s how to get started:
A Simple Advent Wreath -
Traditionally the Advent Wreath is round (symbolizing God whose love has no beginning and no end), Four Candles (symbolizing the light of the world, Four Sundays of Advent and Advent themes - Hope, Faith, Peace, and Love) Greenery (evergreens are traditional and lovely) and often a Fifth Candle lit on Christmas (the Christ Candle).
Round tray plate or platter - A cake stand is a great option
Four or Five Candles - sometimes they come in a set of purple and a pink candle, or blue candles. Don’t worry too much about the colors.
Candle holders if needed. Or use candles that are already in a jar or glass.
Place your candles on the plate, tray, etc.
Note: Make sure your candles are steady
Votive candles in mason jars are pretty
Pillar candles work well
And battery operated candles eliminate any risks
Gather greens or Christmas balls and decorate around your candles.
Admire your beautiful wreath.
How to use your Advent Wreath
Place your Advent Wreath in a place where you can comfortably gather: dinner table, living room, etc. Create an intention to make time and space for lighting the Advent Wreath and preparing your heart for Christmas. Perhaps establish a regular time to gather for the Advent Wreath ritual.
Use an Advent Meditation found in the Walker Chapel newsletter, or one found online.
Gather - take a moment to breathe - smile - and begin.
Share the opportunity to read, pray, light candles.
Advent Readings for the First Week of Advent - A Celebration of Hope
Introduction -This is the beginning of Advent - the time to prepare Christmas, the birth of Jesus. God’s promises came true when Jesus was born. God’s promise is kept because Jesus came to live in our neighborhood. God will keep the promise to come again in glory.
Scripture: Your sun will never set again,
And your moon will wane no more;
The Lord will be your everlasting light
And your days of sorrow will end.
Sunday - Jeremiah 33:14 - 16
Monday - Isaiah 7:13-14
Tuesday - Isaiah 9:2
Wednesday - Isaiah 40:3-5
Thursday - Isaiah 9:6-7
Friday - Malachi 3:1
Saturday - John 8:12
Prayer for Lighting the Advent Candle - Week 1, light one candle
Loving God, be with us this Advent season and help us to slow down, be quiet, and prepare for the coming of Christ, You created light and gave us the light of the world, Jesus. As we light this candle, keep us mindful of the light of Christ in each person and help us to be a light to others. Amen.
Advent at home:
Slow down. Quiet. It's Advent! - Use an Advent Calendar. It’s a great way to find a focus for each day. Share theAdvent Calendar as a family. What does it mean to you? Discuss.
Slow Down - The season of Advent seems to be the busiest season, but does it have to be? What can you let go of this Advent?
Quiet - This is one of the hardest things to find at this time of year. Is there a quiet space in your home? Use some time to journal about what you hope for. Write a poem or prayer. Listen - what is coming?
by Carl Cunningham
The Advent/Christmas special offering (originally budgeted at $11,500) is the last of four annual fund raising activities Walker Chapel conducts in support of carefully selected local, national, and international benevolences (see https://www.walkerchapel.org/benevolence/) serving the homeless, hungry, sick, and needy. Unfortunately, cancellation of both Aprilfest and Octoberfest due to Covid-19 reduced by nearly half our total anticipated sources of benevolence funds this year. Meanwhile, the pandemic’s impact on benevolence organizations world-wide has been severe – greatly increasing demand for their services while simultaneously reducing donations received, curtailing access to critically needed supplies, and disrupting their operations.
In the face of this dire situation, Walker Chapel’s one remaining hope of offsetting some of this year’s benevolence fund shortfall is for the Advent offering to substantially exceed its original goal. Will you please help by making a generous donation?
You may mail a check to the church office marked “Advent/Easter Offering” or donate on-line (by visiting the Walker Chapel website at http://www.walkerchapel.org/payments/ and then selecting the “Advent/Easter Offering” fund option.) Whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Additional Chapel Notes:
RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE: Tuesday, December 1, from 12:00pm until 6:30pm, at Saint Andrews Episcopal Church—4000 Lorcom Lane, Arlington 22207 (SW corner of Lorcom Lane and Military Road). Red Cross is taking great precautions again to prevent possible exposure to coronavirus, and the drive is not open to the public. Someone in America needs blood every few seconds! To donate a pint (or two), please contact Tom Loftus by e-mail (email@example.com) or phone (703-938-4720).
Be a part of The United Methodist Church 2020 Worldwide Virtual Christmas Choir video! You’ve seen the videos of choirs and studio singers coming together (digitally) to sing uplifting songs and hymns, creating works of art that in times like these are needed and incredibly inspiring. Now is your chance to be a part of a virtual choir for Christmas! Come together with unified voices to celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior! Here's how.