Sunday, December 17, 2017 Third Sunday of Advent Introduction
“Rejoice always,” begins the reading from First Thessalonians. Isaiah and the psalmist make clear that God is turning our mourning into laughter and shouts of joy. “All God’s children got a robe,” go the words of the spiritual. It is not so much a stately, formal, pressed outfit as it is a set of party clothes, clothes that make us feel happy just to put on. We receive that robe in baptism, and in worship we gather for a foretaste of God’s party.
Prayer of the Day
Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the words of your prophets, that, anointed by your Spirit, we may testify to your light; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Though the people had returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon, they continued to face hardship and oppression. In the language of the jubilee year described in Leviticus 25, the prophet, moved by the spirit of the Lord, announces deliverance for those who are oppressed and comfort for those who mourn.
Psalm: Psalm 126
The Lord has done great things for us. (Ps. 126:3)
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Paul concludes his letter to the Thessalonians by encouraging them to live lives of continual joy, prayer, and thanksgiving. The closing blessing is grounded in the hope of Christ’s coming.
Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28
John’s gospel describes Jesus as the “light of the world.” John the Baptist is presented as a witness to Jesus, one who directs attention away from himself to Christ, the true light.
Advent is a time of hope-filled expectation and a time of diligent preparation. We know that God is coming to us in the birth of Jesus. Salvation is near. Light *is* coming.
Are we ready? How do we prepare for something like this? How do we tend to our own light as we await the Light of the World?
This Advent season we are encouraged to slow down and to be patient while diligently preparing for the coming of Christ. In our frenzy-paced and instant gratification fueled world, these messages may seem incredibly out of place. Our busyness prevents us from slowing down and the chaos and suffering we see and experience in the world make waiting a painful and frustrating process.
Our need for the Light is immediate and our longing for God’s peace and salvation is so great that it is natural to be anxious. In these most desperate and need-filled moments, despite the frenzy and anxiety and fear, we are encouraged to quiet our hearts and minds and trust in God’s promise.
This Advent, may we together be patiently preparing for the birth of Christ in our lives and birth of Light in the world. May we breathe deep and pray often. May we let go of the things that bind us and attempt to distance us from God. May we free our minds from the doubt and guilt that cloud our judgment. May we serve those in need and share God’s Word. And – may we shine our light for others to see as we await the Light of Christ.
Pastor Amy’s Office Hours
+ Pastor Amy will not be in the office(s) on Mondays, but please don’t hesitate to contact her via phone (662.292-6185) in case of emergencies.
+ Tuesday and Thursday 9 am – 1 pm at All Saints; + Wednesday and Friday 9 am – 1 pm at St. James
+ Tuesday – Friday afternoons (from 1 – 5 pm) are times Pastor Amy will have appointments, visit shut-ins, do hospital visits, meetings, etc. and flexible as to which church she will be in.
+ Saturdays will be reserved for special projects and Pastor Amy will be available by appointment.
A Living Nativity
If you are interested in helping with this event in any way, please contact Pastor Amy or sign-up on the clipboard located on the kiosk in the gathering space. The Live Nativity will be held on Saturday, December 16th from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at St. James Lutheran Church (1705 Oak St., Bett). Soup supper is served continuously in the fellowship hall during the event. Note: Please enter on Oak Street. There will be performances on the hour and half hour. Donations are welcome for the St James Food Pantry and All Saints Clothing Closet (coast, hats, mittens, etc.).
Advent 4 & Christmas Eve Worship Schedule
The schedule for Christmas Eve this year is as follows:
Sunday, December 24th
9:00 am No worship @ St. James
9:00 am Ardor rehearsal (sanctuary)
9:45 am No Men’s Choir rehearsal
9:30 am No children’s Sunday school
10:30 am Worship – Advent 4 @ All Saints
4:00 pm Christmas Eve Worship with Holy Communion and candle lighting @ St. James
7:00 pm Christmas Eve Worship with Holy Communion and candle lighting @ All Saints (no band)
This year the Service Ministry Team is placing ELCA Good Gift angel tags on the angel tree. This will begin the Sunday after Thanksgiving and end the last Sunday of December. The gift ideas on the tree include pigs, chickens, water filters, medicine, school supplies, honey bees, helping to send teens to ELCA youth gatherings, warm blankets, farm tools and many more. Please consider picking an angel, placing the amount in the envelope and then the envelope in the offering plate. These gifts will truly be life changing for the families receiving them.
There is a hat and mitten tree in the gathering space for new items. Please consider purchasing hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves for those that are in need.