Preparing for Advent
By: Rev'd Mimi White
We are swiftly approaching a magical time of year. With anticipation and wide-eyed wonder, we await the birth of baby Jesus. Saint Francis was the first to recreate this holy event with a nativity scene. He designed this to increase his experience of the nearness of Christ, as a part of worship. Since that time, we have celebrated Jesus’ birth with living nativities, nativity pageants, and miniature displays reenacting the story found in the Gospels.
This Advent season, we will celebrate all that reminds us of the joy, hope, love ,and peace of the season through a church-wide Advent study called The Living Nativity: Preparing for Christmas with Saint Francis. During the four weeks of Advent, we will gather together to celebrate carols and caroling, Christmas cards, ornaments, advent wreaths, nativity scenes, and for the first time ever, we will conclude a few days before Christmas with a real-life living nativity at St. John’s on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 5:00pm! We will have Happy Times Farms’ petting zoo animals (donkey, sheep, and baby goats) join with our actors recreating the Holy Night. Sign up to participate in the living nativity here. Additionally, for each of the four weeks of Advent, The Living Nativity study provides us with a daily meditation and prayer to start our day.
Beginning the week of Nov. 25, on Sunday nights and Tuesday nights, different St. John’s members will host small gatherings in their homes from East Memphis to the Downtown Riverfront area. It’s a great time to gather around a crockpot of chili or share pizza while carols play and we reflect on the season with a weekly activity and the wisdom of Saint Francis. If you don’t know many people from St. John’s that well, this is a wonderful opportunity to get to know your church family better.
We are starting this study one week early so we can end with our Living Nativity event on Dec. 22. The youth will be joining us in this study on Sunday evenings. The Tuesday Morning 10:00am Bible Study in the Hospitality room will be doing this study as well. Regarding the house gatherings, for example, Matt and Rae-Anne Pitts will be hosting the young adults on Sunday nights from 6:00-7:30pm, and Carol and Stan Craig will be hosting the East Memphis folks on Tuesday nights from 6:00-7:30pm. We have members in Midtown and Downtown that will be hosting groups as well. I will be reaching out to you with the details about the when and where for our upcoming gatherings. Please email me with any questions at: mwhite [at] stjohnsmidtown [dot] org.
Hurray! Baby Jesus is coming! It’s time to get excited!