November 25th - Prepping for the Advent We *Actually* Have

Dear Hope Church,

Earlier today I heard my junior higher talking to a friend about about traditions leading up to Christmas. In his friend's house, they have a moving elf that brings them little gifts every day leading up to the big day. My son said, "Bruh, at my house an angel flies around and brings a Scripture to read everyday, and then we get a piece of chocolate from the Advent calendar."
He's not wrong - indeed every day our Messenger on the Move lands in a different location and we read a Scripture as a family. He loved it until he heard about the elf thing!
Truth be told, our kids do love this tradition. It brings us together each evening, if even for a few minutes. And there's daily chocolate! I trust if they become parents, they will appreciate this tradition even more.

Co-opted a bit by capitalism (with all the new calendars), Advent is a Christian season and tradition, not necessarily marked by gifts. It is 20-24 days (depending on where the first of four Sundays before Christmas falls) of intentionally preparing to receive the Christ Child again on Christmas Day. It can have some fun aspects to it, like a piece of chocolate every day, but it is primarily a spiritual practice.

Typically as a church, we'd mark these four Sundays leading to Christmas in worship by lighting a new candle each week. As I type this, I don't know when we'll get to gather as a congregation. I'm still PRAYING we are together for Christmas Eve. In the interim:

Starting December 3, 2023, I'm going to go live online every day at 5:30pm, with a Scripture and a devotion for the congregation, so we can engage Advent together.

I encourage you to gather 5 candles - any 5 candles will work - and we'll light them by the week each evening. For the daily devotion, I plan to use Kate Bowler's resource, Bless the Advent We Actually Have. It acknowledges that most of the time, the reality of this season doesn't quite live up to the hype.
When Can We Get In to Paint?
Short answer: Soon.
Longer answer: As soon as the contractor/subcontractors are done with their work, you will know! I'll send out the bat signal asking for help - there are so many walls to paint! And floors to prep and seal. And eventually, chairs to move in.
When Will We Worship In Person Again?
Short answer: A little bit after the painting happens.
Longer answer: Not as soon as I wish! Having experienced the impacts of Covid-closure, this is not ideal.
I do encourage you to start thinking about who you might invite after we are in-person again!
How to Be in Touch
Not gathering weekly means that we don't know what is going on each other's lives. Please do not be shy to reach out if something is going on -- even if you just want someone to talk to/text with on the phone for a few minutes. And if you could actually use more support, don't be shy. There is a still a community of people ready to offer care and love.
If you hit reply to this email, Jennie will see it. Or you can email me anytime: When it's helpful, we can gather a team of food-bringers or daily texters, occasional checker-inners, or whatever is helpful at this time.
I miss you! Be in touch. We'll be Together Again Soon! In It With You, Jennie

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