Dear friends in Christ,
I hope you’re all doing well this week as we’ve experienced some of the first proper winter weather of the season. We’re getting close to Christmas now, and we’ve got a number of things going on here at MCC:
Christmas Caroling: Monday 12/19
We are going to meet at the church at 5 o’clock and then depending on how many of us there are we will carpool to our destinations. We’re making up a route of people to visit now. Please let Ellen A or me know if someone you know would appreciate a visit from some carolers! If we have a critical mass, after caroling we will meet back at the church for soup. Please let Ellen or me know if you’re planning on joining us for caroling and if you’re interested in some post caroling soup! Friends and family are welcome to join!
Christmas Flowers: Due 12/19
If you’d like to make a donation for Christmas flowers, I need to know by 12/19 so I can include the information in the Christmas Eve bulletins.
December Mission Projects
Christmas Dinner Baskets for Middlebury Families: Donations are due by Monday 12/19.
Star Tree: All the gifts have been picked up by Wellmore. A picture of all the gifts in the parlor is attached. Thank you to everyone who donated! We were able to give presents to all 60 children on our list!
Reverse Advent Calendar
Thank you for to all who have been participating in the Reverse Advent Calendar. Donations can be brought to the church starting Christmas Eve!
Christmas & New Year’s Services
12/24@5pm: Candlelight Family Christmas Eve Service
12/24@11pm: Candlelight Communion Service
12/25@10am: Christmas Day Service: We’re planning a shorter, more casual service with opportunity to sing favorite carols, hear the Christmas story, a short meditation on Christmas, and get a chance to ask Pastor Katrina anything you’ve wanted to know about Christmas/the Christmas story.
1/1@10am: New Year’s Day Service: This will be a shorter service, but we will have a sermon, communion, and an opportunity to sing carols and hymns welcoming in the New Year.
Christmas Pageant: Thank you!
Thank you to Valerie, our volunteers, musicians, staff, and players for a wonderful Christmas Pageant this past Sunday! I’ve attached some pictures from me, Valerie, and Katie O of the pageant. You can also watch it again on our youtube channel: www.youtube.com/c/middleburycongregationalchurch
Troop 5 & 6 Can and bottle Drive: 1/7
Our scout troops are having a can and bottle drive on Saturday 1/7 from 9am-1pm. The flyer is attached.
Many of you are likely familiar with the hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel . That hymn is a paraphrase of a set of 6th century Latin prayers for Advent known as the O Antiphons. The “O” part is because all the prayers start with O (which means they’re all in the vocative case), and an antiphon is the sort of refrain response used in more liturgical traditions. Sometimes it’s the introit or a response to the readings or a congregational response. In the final 7 days of Advent, there is an O Antiphon for each day praying for the coming of Christ. The first letters of the different antiphons in Latin form an acrostic that spells out “Ero Cras” which translates to “tomorrow I will be there,” referring to Christ coming on Christmas. If any of you are interested in a very short daily prayer practice in the last days before Christmas, I’ve attached the prayers.
Not all of the O Antiphons are included in the version of O Come O Come Emmanuel in our hymnal because 7 verses would make it rather long. Verses 1 and 4 in the Pilgrim Hymnal are a loose paraphrase of the O Emmanuel antiphon for December 23rd. Verse 2 is the O Oriens/O Dayspring antiphon for December 21st. (Sometimes you’ll see dayspring translated as morning star.) Verse 3 is the O Sapientia/O Wisdom antiphon for the 17th of December.
My favorite one is December 21st “O Oriens”
“O Dayspring, splendor of light eternal and Sun of Righteousness: Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.”