Tag Archives: christmas

Christmas bells and music

The Wonders of Christmas. . .

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas!

This is a very familiar text for us. These words fill us with wonder every year and have inspired countless hymns, songs, movies and plays.  One of our favorite family traditions during December is to watch Christmas movies. We love the classics: Charlie Brown, The Grinch, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story. The list goes on and on.  We gather around, family and friends, enjoying eggnog, hot cocoa, and other special Christmas treats and laugh out loud at the mishaps of the Griswold family, quote Charlie Brown, and cheer words of encouragement to George Bailey. These movies bring us together.  In all these movies Christmas never goes as planned and often is a complete disaster. Although these movies feature a dramatic and comedic flare, just like our real lives we experience struggles, challenges, and things rarely, if ever, go exactly as planned. Another relatable and genuine aspect of these movies is that regardless of what happens during the preparation time in December, Christmas always happens, and people learn that Christmas means more than presents and bright lights. In these holiday favorites, Christmas may be a complete disaster for the characters: lights that don’t light, a sad tree that just needs a little love, an empty pantry with not even a crumb left for a mouse, but we know Christmas will still happen.  The Whos will still gather in the Whoville square, hold hands, and sing Christmas carols. Love will still be felt. Christ will still be born and will forever mean “God is with us.”

Jesus’s birth was also full of mishaps and drama: an unwed teen mother, a last minute trip, a dirty stable, and flight to Egypt.  Nothing stopped Jesus from being born, because nothing can stop God from entering into our world.  God’s love is strong and overcomes all the obstacles we create around it. On Christmas day we celebrate God incarnate in the baby Jesus.

God’s Blessings to all of you during this wondrous, meaningful, dramatic and faithful season.

Yours in Christ~ Pastor Erik

 

 

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Advent and Christmas Worship Schedule

We invite you to join us Wednesday, December 24th, 2015 at 5:00pm for Christmas Eve Worship.
Advent Devotions
In this season of waiting and preparing we invite you to spend time with us in prayer and devotions (http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Advent_Devotions.pdf), developed by ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton and the leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and The Episcopal Church for the Advent season.
Choralaire Concert
  • Friday, December 4th
  • 7:00 pm at OSLC
  • Followed by coffee and cookies in the Fellowship Hall
2nd Sunday of Advent – Music of the Season featuring the OSLC Choir
  • Sunday, December 6th at 9:30am
3rd Sunday of Advent – Music of the Season featuring the OSLC Choir
  • Sunday, December 13th at 9:30am
“Cloth for the Cradle” Advent Vespers Worship
  • Wednesday, December 16th at 6pm
4th Sunday of Advent -Youth and Family Ministry Christmas Program “The Noisy Night”
  • Sunday, December 20th at 9:30am
Christmas Eve Worship
  • Thursday, December 24th at 5pm
c4c 2015 wide

Advent Vespers – Dec. 16

Amid the busyness of this beautiful season, we hope you can join us for this interactive and reflective worship service! All are invited! As we prepare for the coming of Christ, may we find time for prayer, find time for peace, leave the busyness behind us, and reach out to one another in love.

Confirmation students and their families are especially encouraged to attend in lieu of Confirmation class that evening. We will follow worship with a celebration of cookies and hot chocolate in the fellowship hall.

Sunday Sermon – Brenda, AiM

blue4th SUNDAY OF ADVENT – Dec. 21, 2014     Brenda Tibbetts, AiM

TEXTS:  2 Samuel 7:1-11; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38 & Luke 1:46b-55

“THE ANNUNCIATION AND THE MAGNIFICAT”

“The Annunciation and the Magnificat”:  This morning’s gospel texts give us two beautiful insights into the heart of Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.   The first text [Luke 1:26-38] is referred to as:

* The Annunciation

Luke’s Gospel tells us that the angel Gabriel is sent to speak to Mary.  He announces the good news that Mary has found favor with God!  Mary’s openness of heart to hearing the Word of the Lord, even in the most impossible of situations, as well as her obedience to offer herself to this important task God called her to, are amazing when we ponder her circumstances as well as her very young age.  Open hearts and minds are one thing.  Obedience is another.  Openness coupled with obedience is the mark of a disciple, a servant of the Lord.

Mary received a direct call from God for a specific, important task in her life.  How she would respond would not only have a direct impact on her life with her family or on the life of the world as she knew it in her own time – but for all of time.  That call would be a blessing – but it would know great challenge and even great pain.  Mary shows us that it is okay to ask the question, “How can this be?”  She was given free will to answer the Lord’s call, even as we are given free will to respond to the Lord.

But as is so often the case of “Call Stories” in the Bible, the messenger or message often begins and concludes with words of assurance.  “Do not be afraid…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”  In other words, God is with you!  “Nothing will be impossible for God.”

+ I wonder, in our own lives, how open are we to hearing God’s call to us?

+ Do we trust that the Holy Spirit will provide the courage needed to say “Yes!” and the needed strength to carry out “The Call” in obedience to God?

+ Are there areas in your life that you have a hard time believing that God can make the impossible possible?

Mary’s call began with an announcement of God’s favor.  The task was spelled out.  She was chosen to be the Mother of the Son of God!  Mary is totally perplexed.  Not fully understanding (and we surely would have been perplexed, too!) yet, she is given the assurance that this was God’s doing and God would be with her.

There is a sense of peace, acceptance and incredulous excitement that follows when Mary said “Yes” to God’s plan.  A humble, faithful servant, open and obedient, Mary marvels at the amazing ways God works in the life of God’s people – and she breaks forth into praising God with a song of trust and hope!

Our second Gospel reading [Luke 1:46b-55] is referred to as:

* The Magnificat

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name…”

+ In our own lives and in the life of this congregation, how open are we to hearing God’s call to us? Even if that calling is to something new or something seemingly impossible?

+ Do we trust that the Holy Spirit will provide the courage needed to say “Yes!” and the needed strength and resources to carry out “The Call” in obedience to God?

+ Are there areas in your life that you have a hard time praising God?  Can we, will we, as a community of brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus proclaim, “The Mighty One has done great things for us, and holy is his name!”?

Mary’s Song of Praise is a beautiful witness/example of trust in the Lord for what God has done in the past, for what God was doing in the present and a proclamation of trust in what God will do in the future.

It is a Rallying Cry for those who are downtrodden and in need of hope. It is an Anthem of Praise for those open to following the Lord’s call. It is a Song of Remembrance bearing witness to God’s faithfulness throughout the generations.

And it has been, and continues to be, a Song of Threat for those in positions of abusive power.  There was a time in our own lifetimes, throughout Central and South America where it was illegal to read this passage of scripture.  Many priests and nuns were killed for sharing this Word of Hope to oppressed peoples.   We dare not take this scripture for granted…

The Magnificat, [Luke 1:46b-55] has been and continues to be the basis for Liberation Theology.  It promises there will be a time of judgment.  There will come a time – in God’s timing – when justice  will prevail and indeed, all things be set aright.  God hears the cries of the lowly and hungry.  They will be lifted up and they will be fed.  God’s heart is open to their plight.  God will act.  How we pray or sing or proclaim – or discredit or curse – Mary’s Magnificat, her Song of Praise to a Covenantal, Faithful, Steadfast Loving God – will depend on how open our hearts are to respond and to obey God’s calling in our lives.

+ In our own lives and in the life of this congregation, how open are we to singing Mary’s Song of Praise to the Most High God?

May the Holy Spirit come upon us all to hear the Word of the Lord and the power of the Most High overshadow us with courage and obedience to follow that Word that we, like Mary, might proclaim to all people, “Nothing is impossible for God!  The Mighty One has done great things for us, and holy is his name.  His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation…”

Here we are, the Servants of the Lord.  Let it be with us according to your word!  Amen.

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Christmas Eve Worship Schedule

We invite you to join us Wednesday, December 24th, 2014 at 3:30 or 5:15 for Christmas Eve Worship.
Advent Devotions
In this season of waiting and preparing we invite you to spend time with us in prayer and devotions (http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Advent_Devotions.pdf), developed by ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton and the leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and The Episcopal Church for this Advent season.
Choralaire Concert
  • Friday, December 5th
  • 7:00 pm at OSLC
  • Followed by coffee and cookies in the Fellowship Hall
2nd Sunday of Advent – Special visit from St. Nicholas
  • Sunday, December 7th
  • 9:30 am
3rd Sunday of Advent – Youth and Family Ministry Christmas Program
  • Sunday, December 14th
  • 9:30 am
“Cloth for the Cradle” Advent Vespers Worship
  • Wednesday, December 17th
  • 6:15 pm
4th Sunday of Advent – Music of the Season featuring the OSLC Choir
  • Sunday, December 21st
  • 9:30 am
Christmas Eve Worship
  • Wednesday, December 24th
  • 3:30 pm and 5:15 pm
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Too Many Shepherds!

collageOn Sunday kids from age 3 to grade 12 (and some very patient adult volunteers!) gathered to share a new take on the Christmas story in a play called “Too Many Shepherds”.

As the cast of shepherds got bigger and bigger, Tucker, our narrator, grew increasingly exasperated and exclaimed, “But we need Mary and Joseph. We’ve got to tell the part about the manger and the swaddling clothes. Look at you all. There’s no Mary, there’s no Joseph, there’s no angels or inkeepers. But the real problem is there’s just too many shepherds!”

But as the shepherds pointed out, “More than just looking good, we’ve got a very important part in this story…..” “What better role could there be than one who gets to glorify and praise God?” “Yeah! The shepherds believed the angel’s message and went right away to see where Jesus had been born.”

“There can never be too many shepherds.” “In fact, everyone here is a shepherd.” “All of use have heard the Good News of Jesus’ birth.” “And all of us can respond by glorifying and praising god.”  “And all of us can tell others the story.”

“It’s a big responsibility. You know, come to think of it, we need even more shepherds!”

A giant thank you to our volunteers Carolyn, Phyllis, and Tracie for leading us in music and for helping us channel our great energy and excitement into the production. We also thank Tucker, our narrator, and Nicole, our soloist, for taking on such important vocal roles and sharing your talents with us. Thank you to Steve, Brenda, and the 8th grade confirmation boys for helping with the sound and microphones, and to all of our musicians who shared prelude and offertory music with us: Marian, Ayla, Ava, Alec, Gavin, Taia, Tucker, and Rickey. We also thank all the parents and families who helped kids memorize parts, gather costumes, and share their love and support.  And finally, we thank the amazing kids who shared their gifts and energy with our whole congregation! What a wonderful play!