THE 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
19 December 2021
Welcome! We extend a warm welcome to our guests, and invite you to sign the guest book at the back of the sanctuary. Unfortunately, however, we are not yet able to resume our after-service fellowship time in the Church Hall.
Online Services – An abbreviated version of the service is recorded each Sunday, and uploaded to YouTube. If you would like to receive the link to the recorded service each week — or even just occasionally — please let John know. The link to the weekly service can also be accessed from this website. Each service is saved for two weeks, and then deleted.
The Greeter this month is Charlie Clifford.
This Week in First Church:
– Friday, 7:00 p.m. – Christmas Eve service
– Saturday, 8 January – Soup Kitchen Christmas dinner (usually held the Saturday after Christmas Day)
The Christian Year – The Christmas Season, the second season of the Christian Year (and also the shortest) begins on Christmas Day, and lasts for just twelve days, ending on the 5th of January. Christmas celebrates God’s coming into the world in human form in the person of Jesus. As John 1.14 puts it, The Word [Jesus] became flesh, and made his dwelling among us. And, as Luke 2.1-21 tells us, Jesus came into the world in the same way that all humans do — as a baby.
There was no formal celebration of Jesus’ birth in the earliest centuries of church history, and it was not until the 300s that Christians created a festival for this purpose. Since no one knew the actual date of Jesus’ birth, the church “Christianized” an already-existing Roman festival celebrating the “re-birth” of the sun after the winter solstice, and made it instead a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Christmas is the first of the four major festival days of the Christian Year. It is closely followed by the second, Epiphany, on the 6th of January, which commemorates the visit of the Magi (Wise Men) in Jesus’ early childhood (Matthew 2.1-12). The other two major festivals are Easter and Pentecost. The symbolic color for both Christmas and Epiphany is white, signifying joy and celebration