A community church in North Andover, Massachusetts

Out Of My Mind – Christmas 2019

No doubt this is the busiest time of year inside the church and out. What with preparations for Christmas, shopping, family gatherings, and other activities, it’s easy to forget WHO we are celebrating. The baby in the manger is easy to overlook, and that it too bad. How can we keep Jesus’ birth front and center in our minds and hearts this time of year? Here are a few suggestions coming right out of our church calendar.

For the four Sundays of Advent, we will begin our morning worship services lighting traditional Advent Candles, with readings and prayers. Also, we’ll be singing many favorite songs of the season, which will also be reflected in the choir’s anthems (More on the choir below.) This can become an important season for us as a church and as individuals because it is an opportunity to prepare for the birth of our Savior.

About the choir: they are already practicing a special Christmas cantata which they will present on Christmas Sunday, December 22, during morning worship. The work promises to be inspiring, to be sure, but also more than a little surprising. Quite a few of the songs are familiar words to tunes you might not expect. As a choir member, I’ve found the surprises fascinating and fun.

Finally, our Advent observations will culminate with a service of worship on Christmas Eve, starting at 5 p.m. so that families can participate. Come and celebrate “God with Us,” on that holiest of nights. Carols, readings, a short meditation, candles. Some of our richest traditions revolve around our Christmas customs, and we will be honoring them as we worship.

Two house-keeping matters: the first keeping with the topic of songs and traditions. My custom is to pick hymns for Sunday worship by going through the hymnal and trying to choose ones I think people will know. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. If there are hymns you would like to sing, please drop me an e-mail or speak to me directly and I’ll be glad to include them in out services.

The other is a reminder that the Deacons have suggested that we have a “Thank you Sunday” each month, when we can specifically thank people from the pulpit, for things they have done for the church. Again, if you are aware of someone whom we should thank, let a Deacon or me know. Our concern is simple: we do not want anyone to be forgotten or overlooked, and we will need everyone’s help in this.

Merry Christmas and Peace,
Pastor Rob Branch, interim