Christ is coming! That is the message of Advent, which begins Sunday Nov. 29, 2015 this year and is celebrated annually at Central Presbyterian Church, which joins with believers around the world who prepare themselves for Christ’s coming and watch with urgent hope for his return.
What is Advent? It means “coming” or “arrival.” Historically, it was patterned after Lent, a six-week period of penitence and preparation for Easter.
Worship during Advent is marked by urgent expectancy as the believing community takes a biblical journey that leads to a joyous arrival at the manger. Along the way, the people of God prayerfully consider how they will prepare for the inauguration of a king whose reign brings peace, joy, love and hope to our world.
The familiar patterns of worship change during the traditional Advent season at CPC. Here is some of what you will see: Each Sunday, candles in the Advent wreath are lit, and the sights in the sanctuary and words of the hymns focus on the promise of Christmas. The liturgical color – seen at the pulpit, Communion Table and in clergy vestments – changes from the green of “ordinary time” to purple.
Meanwhile, the first two weekends of December provide an opportunity to take a step back in time and walk the streets of ancient Bethlehem at Bethlehem Revisited, open from 6 to 9 p.m. Bethlehem Revisited recreates Bethlehem as Mary and Joseph might have experienced it on the night of Jesus’ birth. The CPC sanctuary is open during this time, and the chapel is available for prayer.
At worship on Sunday Dec. 6, the Lord’s Supper will be served. The communion table at CPC is open: Anyone who claims Jesus as Lord is welcome to receive the sacrament at our historic Church.
Dec. 9 will be the last night of Wednesday Night Fellowship for 2015. The community meal is at 5:30, followed by discipleship classes for all ages at 6:15. Everyone is invited to bring a favorite holiday appetizer or dessert to share during dinner. A sandwich tray will be provided. WNF will resume Jan. 13.
The Discipleship and Education team will host a Bring-a-Dish and Christmas activity hour after worship on Sunday, Dec. 13. Bring your favorite dish to share and then stay for fun Christmas activities for all ages. You can make your own Chrismon to either hang on the Christmas tree in the sanctuary or to take home, as well as decorate cookies and other fun activities.
On Sunday, Dec. 20, worship will include presentation of the children’s program, “The Nativity.” At 5 p.m., the Chancel Choir will present “Lessons and Carols” in the CPC sanctuary. The event is followed by a pie and dessert social downstairs. All are welcome!
The season will culminate with a traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 7 p.m. on Dec. 24. The Christmas Eve service begins with carols as the believing community gathers for worship. The Lord’s Supper is celebrated, and the service closes with the singing of “Silent Night” by candlelight.