Pastor’s Message

I’m sorry to say that we most likely will not be able to return to indoor in person worship in the near future. The Claybanks United Methodist Church and the Michigan Area United Methodist Conference are being diligent in meeting the recommendations set forth by our state and county health department. It has been and will be difficult for us to not meet together in worship and participate in other activities that we as a church family Have been blessed to be able to do together.

Sunday, November 29th is the beginning of the Advent season. To prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior on Christmas we light Advent candles, read scripture and join in meditations of Advent. These practices are important to us as Christians to be ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Preparation is important and so that you might be able to prepare I would like to have you participate in Advent by making a home Advent Wreath with candles and engaging in Advent readings, meditation and prayer. To do so please make a special place in your home where you can celebrate Advent.

Find a location in your home where you can place an Advent Wreath.
Get some fresh boughs from your yard or use some from your holiday decorations. Place them in a circle. Place four tea candles or other candles in a circle within the wreath. Place one candle in the middle. If colored candles are available, three of the outside ones should be one color (purple) and the fourth (pink or rose) and the center candle white. On each Sunday of Advent light one candle for each week as we progress through Advent with the center fifth candle to be lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning. For our Advent practice use these Advent readings including Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. First light one or more of the candles depending on the number of weeks into Advent. Read the Scripture provided. I would suggest maybe one scripture each day. Read the response and meditation followed by prayer for each of the Advent Sundays or days during the week and Christmas. Following with a time of quiet and reflection

Please be sure for safety to extinguish the Advent wreath candles. Know that many of our Claybanks United Methodist Church Family are joining you as we honor the Advent season.

Week One – Sunday November 29th

Hope
Isaiah 64:1 – 9, Psalm 80:1 – 7, 17 – 19, 1 Corinthians 1:3 – 9, Mark 13:24 – 38
In God there is always hope that a new reality might be created. May God’s hope for the world become our hope as well.
Meditation followed by prayer

Week Two – Sunday, December 6th

Peace
Isaiah 40:1, Psalm 85:1 – 3, 8 – 13, 2 Peter 3:8 – 15, Mark 1:1 – 8
God’s vision for the world is one in which all creation is at peace. May this vision guide our lives as well.
Meditation followed by prayer

Week Three – Sunday, December 13th

Joy
Isaiah 61:1 – 4, 8 – 11, Psalm 126, Luke 1:46 – 55, 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 24, John 1:6 – 8, 19 – 28
We anticipate with joy God’s presence breaking into our world each day, as it did long ago.
Meditation followed by prayer

Week Four – Sunday, December 20th

Love
2 Samuel 7:1 – 11, 16, Luke 1:46 – 55, Psalm 86:1 – 4, 19 – 26, Romans 16:25 – 27, Luke 1:26 – 38
As we journey into the last week of Advent, we prepare our hearts to receive God’s love made incarnate in the birth of Christ. Let us be inspired by the traditional words of, “O come, O come, Emmanuel”. Meditation followed by prayer.

Christmas Eve or Christmas Day December 24th – 25th
Isaiah 9:2 – 7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11 – 14, Luke 2:1 – 14, 15 – 20
Today we recognize the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we continue to express our longing, and may our reflections and prayers prepare our hearts for Christ coming. May you and your loved ones experience the fullness of Christ’s presence this Christmas season and God’s peace in your heart as you enter the New Year.

Additional Advent Activity
Cut paper strips (Colored if available) you choose the size. Print on each strip one of these Advent words: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Each day in Advent attach one of the strips to extend your chain making an Advent Chain hanging in a prominent place in your home. Maybe on each chain link, write a word that best reflect your meditation from your Advent Scripture reading of the day.

It is the prayer of Reba and myself that in this most unusual year of 2020 that we are able to recognize the blessings that God has given us and that we are able to use the blessings that God has in store for us in 2021 in our lives as we continue to make Disciples for Jesus Christ.
Be safe and stay well!
Pastor Gary

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