The 2019 Advent and Christmas Seasons Celebrated Joy

The 2019 Advent and Christmas Season at First Congregational Church was filled with joy as we experienced the season through the lens of the beloved Christmas carol classic, "Joy to the World" as it turns 300 this year. 

Composer Isaac Watt's interpretation of Psalm 98 invites us to sing a "new song"—and it is a powerful cosmic performance of all creation being renewed and freed. Rather than "joy" being yet another word for "happiness," we discovered that the depths of joy can be found especially in the midst of suffering, the work of justice, and the presence of compassion—all part of the coming of Jesus to this world and a message the world still so desperately needs.

There was an abundance of making a "joyful noise to the Lord" with wonderful musical offerings from our experienced choir members to the youngest children.

We kicked off the Advent season with Stone Soup prepared by our Youth Group, who then helped decorate the Christmas Tree, selected and set up by members of our Men's Ministry.

The Chancel Choir offered the Choral Sermon "The Thrill of Hope" by Joel Raney on December 15, weaving familiar Advent and Christmas melodies together in a moving and beautiful way, touching hearts and sharing the true spirit of Christmas.  The Bell Choir added their glorious music to the service as well.

Later that afternoon, we enjoyed an all church Christmas party, featuring pizza and the delightful and humorous tunes from a local band, "The Coconuts."

Our youngest children charmed us with their handbell ringing on December 22, and the adult choir continued to fill the sanctuary with beautiful music.

The familiar Christmas story was once again told on Christmas Eve, at a family service at 5:00 p.m. and the candlelight service of Holy Communion at 11:00 p.m.

The Family service was full of joy with the lovely singing of our young adults, and the littlest ones were delightful. The spirit of Christmas infused us as we celebrated the birth of Jesus.

We celebrated Epiphany on Sunday, December 5, the coming of God's light into the world and marking the arrival of the Magi, bringing gifts to the baby Jesus.

We each selected a "Star Gift Word" for 2020 and some shared what their 2019 word meant to them.

We celebrate the joy of the gift of God's love to us, shown to us with the birth of a little child, and the inbreaking of the light. 

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