As I begin this message, I wish to thank the congregation for your participation in this community of faith known as First United Church of Christ, where we are determined to keep Christ’s hope alive!  It seems that everywhere we look a time of great unrest, death and killing, power struggles and violations of peace and good will, prevail.  As I ponder this season of Advent and Christmas I think of what it must have been like at that first Christmas.  Frankly it was not peace on earth, good will to those then living.  It was a time of nation against nation, empire against empire, clashes of religion, societies and peoples.  It was precisely because of the conflicts and destructions of that time in history that God chose to send his Son.

In the fullness of time, God sent his own son, Immanuel to be with us, the word of hope to drive out despair and give to all a vision of what could be.  A foretaste of what God was bringing to his people.  This emphasis of hope will be our theme throughout Advent and Christmas.  God has come to save his people!

By the time you receive this note we will be moving beyond the celebration of Thanksgiving and into Advent.  We begin this day (November 29, 2015) with the lighting of the first Advent candle, the celebration of our Lord’s Supper, then finally the joyful task of decorating our church for Christmas after the service.

Check out the church calendar and make all these special services a part of your life!  Make sure to note that Christmas Eve services are at 7 PM and 9PM.  Recognizing the real spiritual nature of this season, be prepared to welcome the hope and joy that Christ brings!  Here we go!

Blessings,

Pastor Rich