"From Generation to Generation" Our 2022 Advent and Christmas Theme
The stories, scriptures, and traditions of the Advent and Christmas seasons have been passed down to us throughout the generations. Many of us enter this season with a swell of memories and emotions as vast as the cultural and religious rituals this holiday holds. Like a tapestry woven throughout time, the Christmas story weaves us in – to remember how God has shown up in the past, to continue the work of collective liberation, to behold the presence of God in flesh and bone. The work of God is always unfolding – in and through us.
The theme “From Generation to Generation” reminds us of the ways our lives, histories, actions, and stories are interconnected and woven together. In the midst of narratives, policies, and rhetoric designed to divide us, what does it look like to practice belonging to one another? The work of God is always unfolding – in and through us. So it begs the question, how will we carry it forth? This Advent at Muhlenberg, may you remember that you belong – to a story etched into the wrinkles of time, to generations that have come before and will come after, to a love that won’t let you go.
As we watch and wait and prepare – both for the celebration of Jesus’ birth so many years ago and also for the coming of Jesus into our world once more – many find the practice of a daily devotional to be a meaningful way to engage in the season of Advent. This year, printed devotional books following our theme of “From Generation to Generation” will be available in the Gathering Area and the outside Connection Box beginning November 20. This beautiful book contains art, poetry, and reflections that invite us into wonder and curiosity for the ways God is speaking to us.
Do you use a tablet or e-reader? You can request an electronic version of the book by contacting Administrative Assistant Liz Engleking in the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org). In addition, excerpts from the devotional will be posted daily in Muhlenberg’s Facebook group “Muhlenberg Digital Devotionals.” Join the group for reflection and online conversation throughout the season of Advent.
An Advent Calendar for families will also be available for people of all ages to complete together. You can get one from Miss Ashley, or pick one up in the Gathering Area.
Advent News See the full list below of opportunities to join in throughout the season of Advent
We are pleased to offer a service of Advent Choral Evensong beginning Wednesday, November 30 at 7:30 pm. This service will be available in person as well as live-streamed each Wednesday on Facebook and YouTubeduring Advent. Choral Evensong has a long history dating back as far as the Reformation. The service itself is rather short (30-40 minutes) and is mostly if not entirely sung by the choir and presiding minister, allowing the listener an opportunity for reflection and prayer. Some of the more traditionally sung portions of the service include settings of the Magnificat (song of Mary), the Nunc Dimitis (song of Simeon), as well as one of our earliest hymns dating back to the 3rd century, “Phos Hilaron” (Greek, meaning, “O Joyous Light”). This particular hymn setting can be found in our hymnal, ELW 229. The use of candles with minimal lighting will enhance the service experience and trustfully foster a feeling of peacefulness and nearness with God during this Advent season, as we prepare for the coming of the Lord. We do hope you will join us each Wednesday evening during Advent as we end the day in song and prayer!
ADVENTure Sunday December 4, 12:30pm-3pm
Join us in the MAC at 12:30pm for soup and sandwiches and activities to kick off this Advent season. There will be materials for making Advent Wreaths and Chrismons. Members of all ages can enjoy intergenerational art projects from Sanctified Art. Remember, Advent-ure Sunday is not just for kids! As we reflect on the generations who have gathered at Muhlenberg for Advent and Christmas over the years, and the stories that draw us together, Advent-ure Sunday invites us all into a space of creativity and connection.
Muhlenberg will provide dinner for homeless guests at the Open Doors shelter December 5-11. In December, the shelter will be located at Massanetta Springs Conference Center, 712 Massanetta Springs Road, Harrisonburg. Volunteers are needed to prepare food, delivered hot and ready to serve. Food will be dropped off at the conference center between 6:15 and 6:30pm. Four people are needed to serve the meal at the shelter each night and should arrive between 6:15 and 6:45. Volunteers in the shelter must be at least 18 years old. Families with younger children can get involved with food prep and may want to provide a grab and go snack or dessert to share! For more information or to arrange for help with food delivery, contact Susan Lawrence (email@example.com or 540-908-0073). Sign up here: Open Doors Google Sign Up
Order Poinsettias by Sunday, December 11
Help us beautify our church for Christmas! Purchase a poinsettia to adorn our sanctuary, and then take the plant home with you following the last service on Christmas Eve to enjoy its festive color throughout the Christmas season. You can choose to remember or honor a loved one through your poinsettia purchase as well. To purchase one, please sign up by December 11 at the Connection Center or use this link: https://forms.gle/Ne9pyVSYUkxsyXai7.
The cost per plant is $22. Place your check in the offering plate or mail it to the church office and note “Poinsettias” on the memo line.
Minnick School Student Christmas Shopping Wednesday, December 14, 12:30-3pm Donation Deadline: Friday, December 9
During this Advent season, the Local and Global Mission Ministry invites you to take a break from your own shopping to help a child find just the right gift for their loved one. Muhlenberg is hosting a Minnick School Student Christmas shopping afternoon at Minnick School (1661 Virginia Ave.).
Muhlenberg volunteers will fill tables with donated gifts, assist the students as they shop to find the gift they want to give to their parents or guardian, and then help them wrap their find. Sign up to volunteer using this link.
Donate goods: New items, or something nice you received that you would like to regift, may be donated through Friday, December 9, in the donation bin located in the Gathering Area. Ideas for types of gifts that might be appropriate to donate include: Winter scarves, hats, socks, and gloves. Men’s toiletries. Items for cooking or gardening. Battery operated “flameless” candles. Nice water bottles. Gas gift cards. Valley Mall gift cards. And more...
If you would prefer to donate monetarily, we can do the shopping for you; make your check payable to Muhlenberg and indicate “Minnick Christmas Shopping” on the memo line.
Youth Christmas Party Friday, December 16
Middle and High School youth are invited to a Christmas party at Pastor Lauren’s house from 6:00-8:00pm Friday, December 16. Dinner will be provided, so wear your favorite tacky Christmas sweater and join us for Christmas games, decorating cookies, and a White Elephant gift exchange. (No spending money on gifts! Your gift must be something you create or already have at home!) RSVP to Pastor Alex (firstname.lastname@example.org) by December 11 if you plan to attend or have any questions.
Christmas Tree Decorating Sunday, December 18
During the 9:45am Christian Formation hour, our Confirmation class and High School students will decorate the Christmas tree in the Gathering Area together. Join us that Sunday for a fun time of fellowship while we learn about Chrismons and prepare our worship space to celebrate the birth of Christ!
Children's Christmas Pageant: "God Wants a Re-Do" Premiere: Sunday, December 18
Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes of the Christmas story? Help us tell the story this year through our Christmas Pageant, “God Wants a Re-Do,” by Niki Harvell.
We’ll go behind the scenes of the Christmas story to see the real reasons God sent Jesus to the world in this way. Gabriel takes on new life as an overly imaginative and rambunctious angel with crazy ideas for how the story should go, but ultimately serves as God’s messenger of the good (and unfortunately for Gabriel, the simple) news.
The pageant will be digital again this year. If your family would like to participate, email Ashley Saunders at email@example.com. Ashley will email you your script. You can choose to record at home or in the MAC during the 9:45 Christian Formation hour on Sunday, November 20. Or maybe you will choose to create your video with family watching during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. All videos must be sent to Christian Perritt (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 30.
Everyone is invited to the world premiere on Sunday, December 18! We will meet in the Gathering Area at 12:15pm for snacks and fellowship, then at 1:00pm the participants in the Christmas Pageant will walk a red carpet into the Sanctuary to watch “God Wants a Re-Do” on the big screen. This is a fun afternoon celebrating the immense talent of the youth of Muhlenberg.
You can also catch the digital premiere live at home on Facebook and YouTube at 4:00pm. Share the link with family and friends!
Longest Night: Community Worship Tuesday, December 20, 7:00pm - Trinity Presbyterian Church
The longest night of the year is December 21, and it has become a meaningful time to recognize the darkness of grief and loss in our lives that long for the light of Christ. The Harrisonburg Community Longest Night service brings together 8 congregations (Presbyterian, Methodist, Mennonite, and Lutheran) for a service of Word, song, prayer, and Holy Communion. The worship provides an opportunity to be honest about our pain and be reminded of Christ’s light that shines into dark places. This year, the service will be hosted at Trinity Presbyterian Church (725 S. High St.) on Tuesday, December 20 at 7:00pm with leaders from all of the participating congregations.
Christmas News See the full list below of opportunities to join in throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas
Christmas Eve Fireside Service Saturday, December 24, 2:00pm - Behind the Ott St. House
This service will be an opportunity to gather for worship outside. As Christ's presence warms us on Christmas, we'll gather around the warmth of the fire pits as we share an abbreviated Christmas Eve liturgy. We'll have the opportunity to hear the Christmas story, share holy communion, and sing Silent Night together. Hot cider and cocoa will be available, and you can pick up candles to take home for our live-streamed service at 6:30pm. Dress for the weather, as this service will be held rain or shine, though truly inclement weather will move us indoors to celebrate.
Christmas Eve Services in the Sanctuary Saturday, December 24 - 4:30pm, 6:30pm (also live-streamed), 9:00pm
These services will feature a full traditional liturgy, singing of beloved hymns, the proclamation of the birth of Christ, Holy Communion, and a candlelit singing of Silent Night. The 4:30pm service will be particularly appropriate for young children, and the nursery will be staffed at that service as well. The 6:30pm service will be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube so you can worship digitally wherever you are.
Christmas Day Service 10:00am Sunday, December 25 in the Sanctuary
Worship on Christmas Day includes readings and carols proclaiming the birth of our Savior, as well as Holy Communion. This joyful and gratitude-filled service continues our Christmas celebration together as a community. You are invited to bring a small plate of Christmas cookies or sweet bread with you, if you’d like, to share during our fellowship time following the service.
The Community Christmas Dinner Sunday, December 25, 3:00pm
Yes, Muhlenberg, the Harrisonburg Community Christmas Dinner is back! Make plans now to share God's love with your neighbors right here in our community. Muhlenberg will host the annual Community Christmas dinner in the MAC the afternoon of Christmas Day. Doors will open to our guests at 3:00pm with the meal served at 3:30pm. Everyone is needed to make this event a success! There are a variety of ways you can volunteer, both before and on Christmas Day. Can you help decorate or cook? Perhaps donate a dessert or a $10 gift card? Or maybe you could volunteer to be a table host? Please consider saying “yes” when asked to help with this event.
New Year's Day Service 10:00am Sunday, January 1, 2023 in the Sanctuary
Celebrate the start of a new year! Come to thank God for new beginnings and hope for the year to come.
Note that both Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day (January 1) are Sundays this year. Both of these days, we’ll have ONE service at 10:00am. Both services will be held in-person and livestreamed.
Epiphany Party & Chili Cookoff Sunday, January 8, 2023, 4:30-6:30pm
Fire up your crockpots! Christmas isn't over yet! Join us for an Epiphany Party and Chili Cook-Off, Sunday, January 8, 4:30-6:30pm in the Nielsen Room. Bring Chili, Salad, or Bread to share. We'll plan to vote for our favorite chili with change or cash offerings for each contestant. All proceeds will go to support an organization in our community! We'll share in Epiphany traditions like Chalking the Door and Burning of the Greens, so bring a branch from your Christmas tree or wreath to place in the fire, and we will enjoy fellowship on a cold winter night! Invite friends and family to join, the more the merrier!
Muhlenberg Lutheran Church 281 East Market Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801