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A Prayer (and some reminders) for Christmas

Dear Savior,

Thank you for coming on this night so many years ago. Thank you for taking on our flesh and blood and shouldering the burden of our sin and our mortality. Thank you for meeting us in a manger in love and humbleness. Thank you for reaching out your hand to fill us with mercy and forgiveness. Thank you for sending us angels to announce your birth so that there would be no doubt as to your majesty and goodness. Be born in our hearts today and everyday. Come Lord Jesus.

Well, I got to experience my first St. Andrew's Christmas pageant this past Sunday and I was blown away. What a beautiful, fun, and moving way to tell the Christmas story. We began 11:00 Worship with Christmas carols played by what was our largest orchestra of children and youth (with a little help from a few brave men) that anyone here can remember. We then turned to the story of the incarnation with childrenand youth of all ages playing a role in this central story of our faith. The music was wonderful, the sets a result of much creativity and hard work, and the young children (especially "the animals") were adorable.

My experience of the pageant is more evidence of what I have come to love about the people and mission of St. Andrew's: a high value placed on bringing generations of people together in the name of Jesus, committed servants who understand their role and take ownership of it, a treasure of musical talent and the willingness to share it, and incredible generosity in supporting the ministries of this congregation and community. Well done, good and faithful servants.

As I type this letter, bulletins asre being prepared for Christmas Eve which is right around the corner. I hope to see many of you on Friday at one or more of our three worship services.

4:00 PM - Family Worship
A more informal worship experience with familiar Christmas carols, the Christmas story told by the animals present on that holy night so long ago, and some of St. Andrew's children participating in the leadership of worship. This experience, designed to be less than an hour, is perfect for families with younger children, those of you who need to get home to prepare dinner, parties, and family gatherings, and those of you who are young at heart who will have your hearts stirred as we bring the innocent and wise together to praise the new born king.

7:00 and 10:00 PM - Candlelight Communion
Traditional Christmas Eve worship with familiar carols, special music from our choirs, soloists, and instrumentalists, the proclamation of the birth of our Lord, the celebration of Communion, and gathering with lit candles for the singing of Silent Night. This is a night of reunion for many St. Andrew's families and an opportunity to bring welcome and blessing to many guests, some who are coming through our doors for the very first time. Be sure to invite family members, friends, co-workers, or neighbors to join you for worship. Come join us as we give thanks to God for the greatest gift of all, the life of his Son among us.

Please keep in mind that there will be Christmas music before each of these services. Come a little early to secure the seating of your choice and enjoy music of the season. If you do not get to sing all of your favorite Christmas carols on Christmas Eve, join us on Sunday morning as we keep the celebration going.

Sunday December 26th - (one service only) Service of Lessons and Carols at 10:00 AM (Feel free to bring Christmas cookies and candy for fellowship after worship)
Join us for a simpler and briefer Christmas celebration around familiar Christmas readings and favorite Christmas carols. There is no Sunday School this day and less places to rush off to after worship. We will provide coffee and juice but we are encouraging worshipers to bring Christmas cookies and / or candy that are filling their homes to share with others as we gather for some social time after worship.

Our regular worship schedule resumes on January 2 with worship at 8:15 and 11AM, Christain Education at 9:30 AM. Weekly 5 PM Saturday Worship resumes on January 8.

On behalf of our staff and Church Council, I wish all of you a truly blessed Christmas and a hope filled New Year.

Peace,
Pastor Mueller

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