Advent Brochure // December 2014
Shepherds abiding in the fields
The shepherds in the Christmas story were only doing their job at night — watching sheep. Expectantly? Probably not. They were waiting for something quite ordinary — for the rising sun to chase off the cold and darkness.
Yet, the angel broke in upon these ordinary shepherds on their ordinary fields on a quite ordinary night. Advent is a time of being open to God stirring up power and breaking into our ordinary lives with the promise of one birth and, from that one birth, our new births.
Join your community of faith during Advent in growing in faith through Christian community for Christ’s service. Prepare for the angels’ Christmas surprise by marking Advent.
“Shepherds abiding in the field” guides our shared Advent.
- Weekend worship with celebration of baptisms
- Mid-week worship
- Prayer and devotional resources
- Family and Children’s activities
- Gifting and Service Projects
- Thursday morning Advent Bible study
Weekend Advent Worship
An Advent of Prophets
“Shepherds abiding in the fields.” Advent invites us to see and hear that God sustains us in our waiting.
"From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him."
— Isaiah 64:4
- Advent Candle: Prophets’ Candle
- Candle lighter families: Strydoms at 8:30am, Nelsons at 11am
- Christmas hymn: “Joy to the World”
- Weekend baptisms: Oliver and Henry Gibson, sons of Jody and Brian Gibson
An Advent of Maps
“Shepherds abiding in the fields.” Advent’s path to Bethlehem is more than just avoiding obstacles, but rather living with purpose.
“Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.”
— Isaiah 41:4
- Advent candle: Bethlehem Candle
- Candle lighter families: Hansels at 8:30am, Wingos at 11am
- Christmas Hymn: “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
- Weekend baptism: Kjell Lien, son of Nathan and Jamie Porter Lien
An Advent of Mending
“Shepherds abiding in the fields.” God’s Advent call to us to serve the world with God’s healing grace.
"They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations."
— Isaiah 61:4
- Advent candle: Shepherds’ Candle
- Candle lighter families: Abkemeiers at 8:30am, Resors at 11am
- Christmas Hymn: “It Came upon the Midnight Clear”
- Weekend baptisms: Noah Edward and William Charles Pirkl, twin sons of Jared and Kelly Pirkl on Saturday
An Advent of Open Doors
Advent opens doors to the most enduring and life-giving presents that cannot be boxed or wrapped.
“Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.”
— Samuel 7:16
- Advent Candle: Angels’ Candle
- Candle lighter families: Drenkows at 8:30am, Britts at 11am
- Christmas hymn: “Angels, from the Realms of Glory”
Advent Worship & Fellowship
Advent at the Arch
Wednesdays Dec. 3, 10 & 17,
The Christmas story is on the move. Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John. Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The shepherds ran to Bethlehem from their flocks. This year’s Advent at the Arch is “Prepare Him Room.” It is an Advent journey that walks alongside Mary and Joseph and the shepherds.
Advent at the arch is hands-on, interactive worship for all ages. Advent at the Arch services are “at the arch” in the Center for Ministry. The services aim to help families with at-home faith-centered activities.
This year’s shepherding themes are “Finding Home,” “The Family Table” and “Into my Heart.”
Advent Soup Suppers
Wed. Dec. 3, 10 & 17, 4:45-6:30pm
Advent soup suppers start Wednesday, Dec. 3, serving from 4:45 to 6:30pm. Come for food and fellowship before Advent at the Arch or between services.
“My Heart Will Sing”
Wednesday Dec. 3, 10am & 7pm
Kindergarten through 6th grade students will lead “My Heart Will Sing” Advent worship. The 6th grade class will lead the service, and each class provided music. Join the students in the sanctuary for this special time of scripture and songs.
“Prepare Him Room”
Wednesday Dec. 10, 7pm
The youth are leading an Advent service entitled “Prepare Him Room,” an actual journey from the sanctuary to the stable in the Parish Hall. Follow Joseph and Mary along the way and sing favorite Advent and Christmas hymns as we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.
God Zone Christmas Program
Sunday Dec. 14, 11am
The God Zone Christmas program is set for Sunday, Dec. 14 at 11am. In October, God Zone students and leaders — with the help of Wartburg College students — recorded the Christmas story on real fields, with real shepherds, real sheep and enough Bremer County straw to make it authentic. Wartburg students edited the footage and audio into an impressive production! Join the children in watching themselves in the Christmas Story. This year’s “Shepherds in the Field” was taped at the Ron and Mary Beth Zelle farm in October. God Zone students will sing traditional carols during the premier showing.
“The O Antiphons”
Wednesday Dec. 17, 7pm
The O Antiphons are seven traditional responses for the week before Christmas. The Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is based on these responses. On Wednesday, we will celebrate the antiphons with Christmas hymns, Scripture and ancient prayers. A deeper look at rich themes in the hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
Sunday Dec. 21, 11am
J.S. Bach’s Cantata for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, composed in 1723, was written in honor of the Feast of the Visitation, when the virgin Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth and their unborn children dance for joy. The ten movements include the famous chorale known as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” St. Paul’s Chancel Choir will be joined by professional musicians from Wartburg College and the Cedar Valley to present this remarkable Advent gem in its entirety.
Special Advent Giving
Saints Alive & God Zone Shepherd Project
Saints Alive and God Zone students are giving sheep for Christmas! Their gifts will turn a family into shepherds. $125 will by one sheep through the ELCA Good Gifts program. A sheep can provide a family with wool to make items for sale, and be the start of a small flock for an impoverished family. Students will each be receiving a God’s Global Barnyard Coin box.
You can support the children’s efforts by giving a large or small gift to “Good Gifts Sheep” in honor of a newly-baptized person, a special Saints Alive or God Zone student, or as an life-giving option for children and grandchildren.
Good Samaritan Fund
Thanks to all who contribute to the church’s Good Samaritan Fund. St. Paul’s cooperates with other area churches to respond to emergency needs with fuel, food, medical expenses and housing. Consider a special Advent gift to this important ministry.
St. Paul’s is sponsoring some families for the Christmas season with a Giving Tree decorated with gift requests to choose from. If you know of a family who would appreciate being included on the Giving Tree, please contact Paul Frantsen in the church office, 352-3850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advent Bible Study
Grazing Shepherds’ Fields
Thursdays: Dec. 4, 11 & 18, 10-11am
Shepherds wandered from place to place looking for pasture. God provided for them, one pasture after the next.
Three Thursday Bible studies will explore ways that we can “graze” on the first lessons assigned to Sunday’s Advent worship. Bring your Bible.
Advent Devotional & Prayer Resources
Christ in Our Home
Christ in Our Home booklets for October through December are available in the back of the sanctuary or church office. Reflections for Dec. 17-31 are written by Dr. Kathryn Kleinhans, Wartburg religion professor and St. Paul’s member.
St. Paul’s Church is offering an Advent devotional book for families, called Prepare Him Room. The books can be picked up in the church or school office.
Luther Seminary Advent Resources
“Your People Long to Greet You” will also be available on Sunday, Nov. 30 with large print copies available. You can also receive the daily devotions by email when you subscribe to God Pause at luthersem.edu/email.