Third Sunday of Advent – Joy

This is the third Sunday in Advent.  Today, we light the candle of joy.  One thing that sometimes happens as we get ready to celebrate Jesus’ birth is that we expect to be happy all the time.  Joy is not the same as happy.  Joy is a deeper feeling created by knowing that God cares for us.  Joy is remembering that God sent Jesus so we would always know of God’s care.  During Advent, we pray that we may remember again God’s gift of Jesus to the world and know the joy that gift brings to all people.  Today we read from the Gospel of Matthew of how Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son.

 Scripture Reading

Today’s Scripture Reading comes from the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-21.
 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about.  His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
 PRAYER: Dear God: Thank you for your son, Jesus. Thank you for the joy remembering Jesus’ birth brings to us today.  Help us live in such a way that our words and our actions help others know of the joy you give.   AMEN.

Cantata

Christmas Note
Agnus Dei Cantata

Today we were blessed with the joy of music.  Our adult choir and several instrumentalists performed “Agnus Dei:  Lamb of God, Born to Us.   A Concert of Worship for Christmas” created by David Hamilton with Dennis & Karla Worley and featuring the songs of Michael W. Smith.  Thank you to Deb Eidam and Tyler Hughes and to all the musicians for helping our congregation embrace the joy of God’s love for us in the sacrifice of His son!

 Like that first angel chorus, Agnus Dei heralds the Good News of Jesus Christ.   The powerful arrangements and Scripture-based narration drew the congregation into the Christmas story.   Agnus Dei is a Latin term meaning Lamb of God.   “Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.  Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.”

Congregations at both services echoed these responses about the cantata . . . “A great blend of old and new songs that are all focused on God”. . .  “Beautiful music” . . .  “Appropriate scripture narratives”. . .  “A wonderful worship service!” . . .”Our congregation is blessed with outstanding musical talent.”  . . . “That was awesome!” . . .  “Wonderful Job to everyone!”

Briana Baumert Scholarship Cookie Walk

After both services, the annual Cookie Walk for the preschool was held.  Crowds lined the hallways, containers were filled with beautifully decorated treats, old favorites, and special new favorites, too!  There was an amazing variety of cookies.  We have very talented bakers in our congregation, too!  Thank you to all those who donated cookies for the Cookie Walk!  Thank you to all who donated money toward the scholarship, and thank you to all who purchased cookies.

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