Thursday, December 22

A Blessed Christmas

Dear Savior,

Thank you for coming on this night so many years ago. 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, if you missed St. Andrew's Christmas pageant this past Sunday, you missed out on something really special. What a beautiful, fun, and moving way to tell the Christmas story. We began 11:00 Worship with Christmas carols played by a large orchestra of children and youth, as well as some adults who dusted off their instruments for the occasion. We then turned to the story of the incarnation with children and 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 (including our new staging - a special word of thanks to Mark and Jennifer Rice and all of their volunteers) 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. As I type this letter, bulletins are prepared for Christmas Eve which is right around the corner. I hope to see many at worship this weekend.

Christmas Eve

4:00 PM - Family Worship
A more informal worship experience with familiar Christmas carols, a quick but engaging retelling of the Christmas story, 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 Christmas Day and New Year's as we keep the celebration going.

10 AM - Christmas Day Worship
A shorter, less formal ,but equally joyous celebration of our Savior's birth. If you can't join us on Christmas Eve, join us in the morning as we gather around Word and Sacrament. This will be a very different service from Christmas Eve (including different readings and sermon) so feel free to come back even if you were with us the night before. No need to get dressed up this day and children still in pajamas are welcome!

New Year's Worship - Saturday at 5PM or Sunday at 10AM

Schedule is designed around your New Year's celebrations. Prepare for 2012 with prayer and praise.

Our regular worship schedule resumes on January 8 with worship at 8:15 and 11AM, Christian Education at 9:30 AM. Weekly 5 PM Saturday Worship resumes on January 7.

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

Pastor Mueller