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ADVENT & CHRISTMAS

at Christ Episcopal Church

Advent at Christ Church is a time of waiting and of watching, of listening and of breathing, and of focusing on our search for Christ’s peace in our lives as we prepare ourselves to celebrate his birth. This focus encourages us to slow down; Advent challenges the commotion that is commonly found around the holidays, and helps us stay grounded.

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The center of this season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000-year-old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. Scripture readings for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life.

In this double focus on past and future, Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power.

Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, anticipation, preparation, and of longing.

It is the season that begins the liturgical year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day - this year, Advent I is on December 3rd - and the season concludes on Christmas Eve (also Advent IV this year) which is Sunday, December 24th in 2023. 

The liturgical color of the season is traditionally purple but has been replaced by blue in many churches (to differentiate it from Lent), as it is at Christ Episcopal Church.

In the Book of Common Prayer, Christmas Day is one of the seven principal feasts. The Christmas season lasts twelve days, from Christmas Day until January 5th - the day before the Epiphany. Its season includes Christmas Day, the First Sunday after Christmas Day, the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and may include the Second Sunday after Christmas Day. In many parishes, the main liturgical celebrations of Christmas take place on Christmas Eve.

Below are the Advent and Christmas season services at Christ Episcopal Church for this year. We'll add events and gatherings as the season progresses, so check back often. Also, be sure to regularly check our parish calendar for the complete schedule of parish and community events.

 

You are always welcome to join us - whether you join us each Sunday, visit more seasonally, or have never entered our doors - for the value of worship and fellowship never diminishes.

 

We wish you all a blessed and healthy season.

Christmas Schedule

Christ Church's

Christmas Services

Christ Church on Christmas Eve

& Advent IV

Sunday, December 24th

at 4:00, 8:00, and 11:00 p.m. in the New Brick Sanctuary

and via the CEC website, Facebook, and YouTube

Music begins 30 minutes before the 8 and 11 p.m. services

Our incredible youth are featured in the 4:00 Christmas Eve worship at Christ Church, a family service that includes a live Nativity. All kids from pre-school - 5th grade are invited to have a role, so email us at info@christchurchcolumbia.org or call the Church Office to participate.


That evening, our excellent choir and instrumentalists will lead the seasonal music presentation before both uplifting evening services, so arrive at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. to grab great seats and join us as we celebrate in joyous song!

 

Celebrate Christmas Day

Monday, December 25th

at 10:00 a.m. in the New Brick Sanctuary

and livestreamed on the CEC website, Facebook, and YouTube

Christmas Day Eucharist is a truly wonderful service, and in 2023 it takes place in the Sanctuary of New Brick. And so, as the hymnist suggested... “Come and worship… worship Christ, the new-born King!”

New Year's Eve at Christ Church

Sunday, December 31st

at 8:00 and 10:30 a.m.

10:30 service is also livestreamed on the Christ Church website, Facebook, and YouTube pages

We will gather together for this final day of 2023, and collectively begin the New Year with worship and prayers for a healthier, safer, and more peaceful year to come. Join us at 8:00 a.m. in Old Brick and 10:30 for Jazz Eucharist with the Leister Quartet in New Brick.

New Year's Day

Monday, January 1st

at 10:00 a.m. in the New Brick Sanctuary

and also on our website, Facebook, and YouTube

Celebrating the first morning of the New Year is always special, so join us at 10 a.m. in New Brick for Holy Eucharist and a ringing in of the new year.

Prior Advent Services

Morning and Evening Prayer Livestreams

Monday - Friday at 7:00 a.m.

Fridays at 7:00 p.m.

via our website and Facebook

Our virtual tradition continues as wonderfully dedicated and faithful members of the Christ Church family lead us in a brief prayer service livestream to carry us through the Advent season.

The Jesse Tree

Each weekday throughout December

Begins Friday, December 1st

In recent years during Advent at Christ Church, we’ve invited parishioners and families to observe the tradition of a Jesse Tree celebration in their homes. This tradition honors the genealogy of Jesus Christ, tracing his Old and New Testament ancestors and telling the history of God's act of salvation.
Our own Jesse Tree, complete with beautiful hand-made ornaments by artist Jenn Lavanish, is in the Narthex, and each weekday, Mother Marcia Davenport posts a brief video explaining the Jesse Tree subject of the day. Materials for families and parish members who wish to honor this daily Jesse Tree tradition of reading Scripture, a short meditation, and the creation of an ornament to display on a Jesse Tree of their own, will be provided on our website.

Daily Poems for Advent

Each day through Christmas on our website and Facebook

Begins Friday, December 1st

You can visit Pam's Advent Poems here.

In addition to our daily Morning Prayer, Pamela Pruitt, a Christ Church parishioner and poet, has created a poem for each day during Advent. Each evening leading up to Christmas, you can view the daily poems on our website and Facebook, and we hope you find them restorative, comforting, and inspirational. We are so grateful for Pam and appreciate her willingness to share her art.

Centering Prayer

Monday evenings at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom

December 4, 11, and 18

Join us in Old Brick at 7:00 p.m. Monday evenings for Centering Prayer, a special evening prayer gathering that helps us be present and open to God. You can also take part virtually from wherever you are, so if you'd like the Zoom details, let us know and we'll send them to you.

Healing Eucharist

Thursday afternoons at 12:00 noon in Old Brick

December 7, 14, 21, and 28

Christ Church offers midday worship in historic Old Brick, including readings, prayers, a litany for healing, and the Holy Eucharist. Everyone is welcome to join us as we seek healing for ourselves and our loved ones, so come reflect, pray, and participate in a service in our beautiful chapel, the oldest building of worship still in regular use in Howard County.

 

Advent Quiet Day

Presented by the Christ Church Spiritual Life Commission

Led by Carol Abbott​

Saturday, December 2nd

from 8:30-12:00 noon in Old Brick

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join us as Advent Quiet Day gathers in Old Brick next Saturday. This important Christ Church tradition, presented by the Spiritual Life Commission, marks the start of the Advent season and helps us to focus and retain our perspective in these hectic weeks leading up to Christmas.

We are grateful to have Carol Abbott, a spiritual director and retired educator, leading our morning retreat this year. Carol is a recent addition to the Christ Church family - she and her husband Jay moved to Columbia from California and are now parishioners. Carol is a mother and grandmother; her first son was born with severe cerebral palsy, which helped deepen her compassion for parents, caregivers, and those who feel marginalized.

 

We'll gather in Old Brick for an informal breakfast and conversation at 8:30 a.m. and then take part in a morning of readings, spirited discussions, shared community, and periods for quiet meditation. Our retreat then concludes around noon with an informal Eucharist. It's a very special gathering each year, and we hope that you'll join us as we let the Light enter our feelings and actions to help make this a remarkable and joyous Christmas season. 

Advent I

Sunday, December 3rd

at 8:00 in Old Brick

9:00 Family Worship in New Brick

and 10:30 a.m. with music and choir in the New Brick Sanctuary

10:30 a.m. is livestreamed via the CEC website, Facebook, and YouTube

Begin the Advent season with us, either in person or online. We will have our first Eucharist in Old Brick and then two Sunday morning services in the Sanctuary of New Brick. You can also worship virtually at 10:30 a.m. by using the above links.

First Wednesday Fellowship

Wednesday, December 6th

at 6:00 a.m. in the Great Hall of New Brick

Don't miss next month's FWF as we celebrate the holiday season with an "Ugly Christmas Sweater" contest and gift swap. Wear your favorite ugly sweater to the gathering and bring a gift valued at around ten dollars so we can put it in the grab bag and share it with others. We're still working on the meal for the event, but it's sure to be delicious. Mark the date: Wednesday, December 6 (also St. Nicholas Day!) at 6:00 p.m. in the Great Hall... be there!

Advent Jazz Caroling and Cookie Exchange

Saturday, December 9th

at 5:00 p.m. in the New Brick Sanctuary

Christ Church will host our annual "Caroling and Cookies," but with a twist. The Leister Quartet provides a musical backdrop for us, and we’ll sing of God’s glorious presence captured in some of the most beautiful and beloved carols from around the world. We’ll have our Cookie Exchange following the singing, now a cherished (and delicious!) tradition at Christ Church, so bring along some of your baked seasonal goods to share with others. It’s a festive and fun way to celebrate the season.

Advent II

Sunday, December 10th

at 8:00 in Old Brick

9:00 Family Worship in New Brick

and 10:30 a.m. with music and choir in the New Brick Sanctuary

10:30 a.m. is livestreamed via the CEC website, Facebook, and YouTube

This Sunday, we have our three worship services, as well as formation and fellowship for all. The 10:30 service is also livestreamed on our website and social media channels.

Rosemary for Remembrance:

worship for when Christmas is a difficult time

Saturday, December 16th

at 5:00 p.m. in the New Brick Sanctuary

We have all known a great amount of loss this year. The impact of losing a loved one, either to COVID or other circumstances, has been felt by all of us at one time or another. In addition, the weeks leading up to Christmas can be a pressured time, and frazzled nerves can cause us to get beside ourselves. This is why Christ Church offers our Rosemary Service of Remembrance, a quiet, reflective worship that helps us to slow down and recover ourselves. We welcome everyone to join us in a comforting and meditative service of prayer, music, and readings, as we lift up all of those loved ones who have left us.

 Advent III

Sunday, December 17th

at 8:00 in Old Brick

9:00 Family Worship in New Brick

and 10:30 a.m. with music and choir in the New Brick Sanctuary

10:30 a.m. is livestreamed via the CEC website, Facebook, and YouTube

Join us for Holy Eucharist at 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. in New Brick, as well as youth and adult formation classes and coffee hour fellowship.

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Sunday, December 17th

at 6:00 p.m. in the New Brick Sanctuary

and via the CEC website, Facebook, and YouTube

Christ Church will hold a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in New Brick, a truly wonderful gathering whose origins date back to late 19th century England. All are most welcome to join us in this celebration of glorious carols, anthems, and hymns led by our wonderful choir, interspersed with Bible passages. Please join us - in person or online - for an evening of joyful expression, in word and song, of the greatest story that has ever been told.

Check back often for additional services and information.

christ episcopal church always follows current health guidelines as directed by the episcopal diocese of maryland and the howard county health department.  contact us if you have any questions.
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