The Hope of Advent

posted Nov 26, 2021, 8:48 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Blessings of peace to you! I hope your Thanksgiving was a day where you paused to be grateful for the many ways God continues to show up in your life.

This year the Worship Committee and I are wishing and dreaming for a memorable Advent season since last year we were not able to be together in person. And, as quickly as Thanksgiving has come and gone, we are on our way — can you believe it? — to Advent this Sunday. Allow me to share a few highlights of our hopes for worship this December.

  • For our Advent candle lighting and readers each week, we have invited some of our children to read. As Advent is about a child bringing God’s light to the world, the children will share their thoughts about Jesus and hope, peace, joy, and love written in their own words. Emma and Olivia Hertzog are our readers for this Sunday.
  • We will, once again, gather together outside this Sunday at 4 PM (weather permitting) for our 2nd annual lighting of the MRC Family Christmas tree. Please bring an unbreakable ornament to hang on the tree. And hot chocolate and cookies will be served!
  • On December 10, all are welcome to attend Music Night: Classical Music 101 at 8 PM in the sanctuary featuring some recorded classical music you never knew you knew. Wine and cheese will be offered.
  • On December 12, the Third Sunday of Advent — Joy, our worship will be one filled with beautiful sacred music, Scripture, and inspirational readings. Tim Anderson, Juliet Gallagher, Diane Grady, and Izaak Thorpe are our featured soloists, with Andrew Olenik on violin. 
  • The Christmas Pageant and Coventry House Christmas party is back on December 19! Come and experience Jesus’ birth as told by the sheep, and yes, a donkey. After worship, all are welcome to gather in the parsonage for refreshments. I’ve been told Santa, Mrs. Santa, and their elves will be making an appearance.
  • Finally, Christmas Eve at 6 PM is our beloved Traditional and Family Friendly candlelight worship. Come with your family, bring a friend, and celebrate that Love is born!

Beloved, these are just a few of our dreams, but more specifically, our hopes for this Advent season. We also have the Youth Group and Ruth Circle Joy to the World Cookies, and our Community Outreach Group Giving Tree will be up this Sunday for us to take an ornament and buy a gift card for those in need in our community. 

So come, let us gather and look forward in hope this First Sunday of Advent at 10:30 AM in person or on FaceBook live. The Joyful Noise Adult Choir will sing “An Advent Credo” for our Anthem. I will be preaching from Jeremiah 33.14-16 and Luke 21.25-33 and my sermon title is Daring to Hope Again. As you are aware, we have resumed congregational singing and since COVID-19 is still present in our state, and the numbers of infections are on the rise again everyone must wear a mask for worship and indoor church events. Thank you for your cooperation in loving yourself, your neighbor, and keeping everyone safe and healthy.

In addition, I would be grateful for volunteers this Saturday at 1 PM to help green the sanctuary for Advent. Please let me know if you are able to help. Also, I’ve attached the poinsettia order form to this email. If you wish to buy poinsettias in honor of or in memory of someone, please fill it out and return it/email it to Dolores Hofmann no later than December 12.

After last year and our inability to worship in person safely, I invite you to “come home for the holidays.” Come home to church. My joy would be full to see you in worship once again.

In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish