Happy Advent! As we enter into this preparatory season, we are pushed from within ourselves and from the outside world to do more and more and more. Have we decorated? Shopped? Baked? Strung lights? Wrapped? Planned? Achieved world peace? I will tell you a secret, Christmas will come even if you do none of those things. Indeed, that first Christmas, only Mary and Joseph knew ahead of time to plan. The shepherds and magi weren’t told until after the baby was born. If the preparations bring you joy, that’s wonderful. If they don’t, I promise you they are not necessary.
I am now a hypocrite, though, because we have multiple opportunities and events coming up at church. Still, I hope you will look at them and participate in what enriches your season, and ignore the rest.
Starting this Sunday, we are collecting gifts for the youth at Lad Lake. We have a Christmas tree whose ornaments are cards listing gift ideas. Please take an ornament or two and return the unwrapped gift to the Narthex. We will collect gifts through December 18.
On December 4 we are joining Dousman for their Winterfest activities. St. Mary’s is once again competing in the chili competition after we took home the prize last year. Please sample chilies up and down Main Street and then vote for the one you like the best (which is definitely ours). There are also craft activities for kids, caroling, a scavenger hunt, face painting and Santa comes to town by fire truck at 4:30 p.m.
December 10 we are having a Carols and Friends event at 3 p.m. Come and sing Christmas songs, bring a friend, and enjoy some hot cocoa or cider. You can request your favorite Christmas hymns and we will all sing them together.
The next day (December 11) is Bring a Friend to Church Sunday. Please do bring a friend and come celebrate the third Sunday of Advent.
Finally, mark your calendars:
Snow Hike – December 10 at 10 a.m.
Volunteer at the Gathering – December 17 at 10 a.m.
Cookie Exchange – December 18 following the services
Longest Night – December 18 at 5 p.m.
Christmas Pageant – December 24 at 2 p.m.
Christmas Eve Service – December 24 at 5 p.m.
Christmas Day Service – December 25 at 10 a.m.
Lessons and Carols – January 1 at 10 a.m.
Prayers and Blessings,