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, of anticipation, of preparation, and of longing.
Advent is the beginning of the church year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day - the Sunday nearest November 30th - and ends on Christmas Eve (December 24th). If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent, with Christmas Eve proper beginning at sundown. This year the season of Advent begins on Sunday, December 1st.
The liturgical color of the season is traditionally purple, but has been replaced by blue (to differentiate it from Lent) in many churches, as is the case here at Christ Church.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. The 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 that Christ Episcopal Church offers to all - those who come each Sunday, those who visit more seasonally, and those who have never entered our doors. We welcome each and every one of you, always.
ADVENT SEASON SCHEDULE
Sunday, December 1st
Begin the Advent season with Holy Eucharist at 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. in New Brick.
December 7th from 8:30 a.m. - Noon
Advent Quiet Day will take place in Old Brick on Saturday, December 7th. This time together helps us to focus and retain our perspective in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Prior to the morning session, we will gather in Old Brick for breakfast and conversation from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.
We are blessed to have The Reverend Robert Bunker to lead this morning retreat. The theme of our gathering together will center around our Christ Church Spiritual Life theme for the coming year - Arise, for the task is yours. Take courage, and do it.
We will have readings and discussions, as well as times for quiet meditation. This morning together will then conclude with a Holy Eucharist in Old Brick.
Please join us for an enriching time at the start of this blessed season.
Sunday, December 8th
Rosemary Service of Remembrance:
Worship When Christmas is a Difficult Time
Saturday, December 14th @ 3:00 p.m. in Old Brick
The season leading up to Christmas can be a pressured time when frazzled nerves can help cause us to get beside ourselves. Christ Church offers Rosemary Service of Remembrance, a quiet worship that helps us to slow down and recover ourselves. We especially invite individuals and families for whom Christmas will generate painful memories of loss to join us in a comforting and meditative service of prayer, music and readings. In candlelight, sprigs of rosemary will be given as remembrances of those who are missed at this season of Jesus’ birth. The title for this worship comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, in act IV, scene V: “There’s rosemary; that’s for remembrance. Pray, love, remember.” The herb rosemary has, for centuries, held great meaning as the symbol of remembrance. Legend speaks of the Virgin Mary, while resting, spreading her cloak over a white, flowering rosemary bush. The flowers turned the pale blue of her cloak, and from then on the bush was referred to as the “Rose of Mary”. This service is intended to help worshipers “pray, love, and remember.”
All are welcome to join us on this afternoon in Old Brick.
Sunday, December 15th
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 15th @ 6:00 p.m.
Christ Church will hold a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in New Brick, a 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, as well as performances by the Lumen Christi liturgical dance ensemble. Please join us for an evening of joyful expression, in word, song, and dance, of the greatest story that has ever been told.
December 5th, 12th, & 19th @ 7:00 p.m.
Looking for an opportunity to recommit yourself to prayer during this season of Advent? The season of Advent is about waiting in anticipation for the wonderful story of human hope. Christ Church offers Advent Compline on each Thursday evening during Advent, so please come and join us in Old Brick for a quiet and contemplative time of prayer and reflection as we wait the coming Messiah.
Sunday, December 22nd
The fourth Sunday during Advent will have Holy Eucharist at 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. in New Brick.
5th Annual “Caroling in Old Brick”
& Cookie Exchange
Sunday, December 22nd @ 7:00 p.m.
Christ Church will host the fifth annual "Caroling in Old Brick". As usual, our magnificent Old Brick will be lovingly decorated for the season, and amidst its beauty and candlelight we will sing of God’s glorious presence captured in some of the most beautiful and beloved carols from around the world. There will be refreshments in the Parish Hall after our caroling. We will also have our Cookie Exchange, which has become a cherished tradition at Christ Church. Bring along some of your baked seasonal goods to share with others! It's a most special gathering, and we hope that all of you will gather with us for this fun and festive celebration.
Three Christmas Eve Services
Tuesday, December 24th @ 4, 7, & 11:00 p.m.
The annual youth pageant and choir will be an integral part of the 4:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Service in New Brick. Later in the day, our adult choir and instrumentalists will lead the musical presentation 30 minutes prior to both of the nighttime services, so come early!
Worship Together on Christmas Day
Wednesday, December 25th @ 10:00 a.m.
Christmas Day Eucharist will take place in Old Brick. This is a truly exceptional service, so as the hymnist suggested, “Come and worship… worship Christ, the new-born King!”
First Sunday After Christmas
Sunday, December 29th in New Brick
On this Sunday morning, we will have our usual Holy Eucharist service times of 8:00 and 10:30 a.m.
New Year's Eve at Christ Church
Tuesday, December 31st @ 11:00 p.m.
All are invited to join us for a New Year’s Eve at Christ Church - a gathering of gratitude for an exceptional past year, and one in which we offer ourselves into God’s continual care as we welcome the New Year. If you are looking for a New Year’s Eve experience with no pressure - just a prayerful walk into the coming year - join us at Christ Church for this contemporary worship. Our gathering begins in New Brick at 11:00 p.m. with Eucharist, meditation, and fellowship as we celebrate the stroke of midnight.
New Year's Day Eucharist
Wednesday, January 1st @ 10:00 a.m.
We will gather in Old Brick on this first morning of the new calendar year, and join in celebrating the beginning of this New Year with a Holy Eucharist and prayers for a healthy and peaceful 2020.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.