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What are you needing this year?

In your heart of hearts, what are you hoping for?  For yourself?  For your Family? For the world?

What emotions have been rising up within yourself?

At Christmas we hear the news that God has chosen to enter into our own selves.  Jesus is born.  God is no longer (has never been!) far off, but God has taken flesh - "In-carnate."  We learn that even when we did not choose God, God has chosen us.  This is the foundation of faith.

In Advent we prepare for Christmas, to receive this news of Jesus with open hearts and minds.  We exist in hopeful waiting to see what God is doing within us.  We take up a serious practice of prayer to orient ourselves around this news.  We draw close to Jesus.  Fr. Dan will explore this on Advent I.

We need to say that our cultural world is frantic this time of year, and our own minds are often frantic and distracted.  The Advent traditions of the church invite us to really discern what is necessary, helpful, beneficial, and loving in our context.  Preparations for Christmas can be very helpful spiritually when done with the right attitude, but they can also distract us and keep us overly busy at the 'surface of life' and focussed on 'stuff'.  The advertising around us can be fun and help us enjoy giving good gifts to our loved ones, but it can also be an accusing whisper that we are not enough, that we need more, that we are incomplete.  We wholeheartedly reject the notion that we are incomplete, and choose instead to be content in joy, hope, love, and peace.  We are enough already.  God is enough.  Keeping the season simply, joyfully, and beautifully is enough.  Embrace the extra work to buy from local stores whenever possible.  Support ecologically and socially responsibly options for purchases.  Guard against obligation and choose instead willfull generosity.

What do you need spiritually this Advent?  What feelings are arising for you in pandemic time?

At St. Augustine's we choose to hold the following rhythm:

  • Families Advent Intro event Saturday November 28, 3:30pm-4:30pm. 1h to explore the season of Advent from a kid's perspective and some craft and other ideas to help keep the season from home.
  • Sundays 10am, ADVENT I, II, III, IV we gather online in our usual way. (Bishop Jane has rightfully asked us to worship only online for now.  Check the website for updates)  BUT, let's plan to have a ZOOM COFFEE HOUR after each service for maybe 30 minutes on the church zoom link!
  • Monday Nights at 7pm, Dan Ash and Anne Wightman will lead a group through a simple prayer service using the Advent litany as a guide, listen to some Advent music, and end with a short service of Compline. We have a good tradition of healing services at St. Augustine's and this Monday night group will culminate in a guided healing service on the fourth (Solstice) Monday. (November 30th, December 7, 14, 21, 7pm).  Standard church Zoom link.
  • Wednesday nights at 8pm on Zoom, Pat Jameson and Anne Wightman will lead a gathering through "Advent in the New Universe Story" (December 2,9,16,23, 8pm) Standard church Zoom link.                 
  • ADVENT IV Sunday Service of Lessons and Carols.  Watch for this special service on December 20th.
  • HEALING SERVICE. The 7pm Monday Prayer service will have a special focus on prayer for healing.
  • CHRISTMAS EVE, single service @ 7pm.  Join in this most holy night as we mark our Lord's birth in the stable.  We will have some participation as we build a creche together.  Details HERE. (No Christmas day service - see next bullet)
  • The 12 days of Christmas will be marked with a daily email reflection.  If you're not signed up for our newsletters already, please sign up at the bottom of any church website page.
  • Twelfth Night Feast!  5pm, January 5th. Ok, we will not be meeting for a feast in-person, but you might want to make for yourself some Wassail and join in for this lovely gathering in such a quiet moment of the year.  Twelfth night marks the official end of the Christmas Season.  We will share in conversation, song, and a simple compline prayer service.

Bless you in this season of Advent and Christmas we mark together.

Advent video below: