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Advent Expectations – IV

Advent Expectations at St. Matthew’s

December 21, 2015 – Advent IV

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” –Isaiah 9:2

Today is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, or more specifically, it is today at 9:49pm Calgary time. Earth has a natural tilt that we measure as being 23.5 degrees, and as our planet orbits the Sun, our life-giving star seems to rise higher and lower in the sky. We experience this not only in seasons, but also in the amount of daylight from day to day. Currently, we have been experiencing less than eight hours of sunlight each day. The good news is that as of today, the days don’t get any shorter, in fact, after the winter solstice at nearly 10pm tonight, the days start to get longer.

At one point in our history, around the time that Christmas became a major feast-day in the church, the winter solstice fell on December 25th in the Julian calendar. As many winter solstice celebrations already existed in late Roman/European culture, the symbolism of light shining in the darkness was a natural fit. Isaiah’s words proclaimed hope in the midst of dark times, tied to the birth of a child of hope. Matthew and Luke echoed Isaiah in their own ways, pointing to Jesus as the embodiment of that child of hope. Every year, people would experience this flow and turn of the seasons, and could hear the reverberations of the stories of the Christ child.

Nearly two-thousand years later, and through various calendar shifts, Christmas comes a handful of days after the Winter Solstice. Yet the symbolism of what we experience in the world, of light shining in the darkness, still holds true. In these last days before Christmas, even if we find ourselves swamped by the busy and stress of the season, may you remember Christ’s light.

During the season of Advent and beyond, I will be sending weekly emails and reflections. You may also check out our website at http://www.st-matthews-uc.org for recent sermons, updates, and reflections.

Yours in Christ,

John

Events to Remember:

Christmas Eve

  • Early Service 7pm. Featuring “Would it Still Be Christmas” which will have an opportunity for all children who come to dress up and participate in the Christmas Story. There will also be several musical offerings from our choir, a sermon in poetic verse, and as a first for this year, hot chocolate in the lobby/narthex area following the service!
  • Late Night Communion 11pm. For a quieter more meditative service, featuring the lovely voice of Laura Brandt, wife of our Organist/Pianist Evan Mounce.

Christmas Office Hours

  • The Office will be closed from December 25th to 29th, and January 1st.

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