“Finding a Theme for Advent” by Celebration Circle

October 25, 201515 Altar Jubilee

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

As the Message for this morning, Celebration Circle (of which I am a member) is going to demonstrate for you a part of our process in which we invite God to speak to us and shine through us.

In preparing for each liturgical season, Celebration Circle has five tasks: 

·         To establish a theme

·         To select a reading to serve as the Reflection 

·         To write the liturgy

·         To design and create a bulletin cover 

·         To design and create the altar display, sometimes incorporating other                 portions of the sanctuary, as well. 

Our next liturgical season will be Advent, which begins in 5 weeks.  To help you understand how we do what we do, this morning – before your very eyes – we’re going to conduct the first step of our process – to establish a theme for Advent.  This has not been rehearsed – we are doing this in real time.  We hope you find it interesting, and perhaps instructive or maybe even enlightening.

Shall we begin?

 Below is a summary of the Advent “Brainstorm”. .

Advent 2015: 29 November – 20 December (4 weeks)


  • More election craziness
  • Damp, raw weather (with occasional gorgeous days)
  • Seasonal extremes$PEND! The culture of consumerism
    • Short days / Darkness here
    • Summer in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Too many carols before Christmas
  • Encouragement to “forget about disasters”
  • Fighting in the Middle East
  • For some people:Opportunities to see families
    • Quiet preparation for the season
    • Personal loneliness
    • Families struggling to buy presents for children
    • Families struggling with the possibility that this might be the last Christmas for loved ones
  • Homeless longing for shelter
  • The Culture kills the prophetic side of Christianity with trivial gift-giving


  • Hectic times
  • Anticipation vs living in the momentSome traditions continue
    • Anticipation: we jump to celebrating Christmas
    • Living in the moment: giving space in my life to see where Christ can come again
  • Progressive crèche in the front windows
    • The Red Star moving in the sanctuary
    • Altar installation
    • Christmas Eve dinner (and Seekers reunion)
    • Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve
    • Holiday Sing-Along
  • Some traditions in questionGallery exhibit down
    • Christmas Pageant (No-one has stepped forward to lead)
    • Building decorated for the holidays
  • A mix of tradition and uncertainty: Hold the old / Find the new


  • Hebrew Scripture full of promises
  • Gospel
    • End times are coming
    • Repent!
  • John the Baptizer and Jesus: Different perspectivesBegin with small changes to get ready
    • John: Repent – do your job honestly and well
    • Jesus: Repent – live a life of loving and doing God’s will
  • “He will baptize you with Holy Spirit and fire!”
  • 4th week – the Magnificat brings “promises” intot he Gospel
  • God’s timetable stretchedHoly Contradictions
    • We don’t know God’s timing
    • Tension between anticipation and action

WORKING THEME: (Promises, Promises)



Call to Worship

Confession & Assurance         

Great Thanksgiving  


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