In a lot of ways, 2020 has been one long exercise in waiting. Waiting for progress on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. Waiting to see how the presidential election would turn out. Waiting on test results. As much as we might say that patience is a virtue, the truth is we tend to find waiting stressful. Living in uncertainty for any length of time brings doubts and worries, maybe even fatigue. It doesn’t feel like we were designed to wait.
We may find waiting difficult, but the good news is that God is with us in our waiting, and the holiday season is a perfect reminder of that—and no, not just because we wait for presents on Christmas morning! The season of Advent reminds us of Israel’s long wait for God’s messiah to come, and it calls us to remember that the world is waiting for Jesus’ return. Christmas tells of the joy of the messiah being born, and it also makes us acknowledge that so many people in the world are still waiting to here the good news about him.
So, since this this year has been all about waiting, at Whitehouse UMC, our worship theme for this season will take a look at just that! We’ll be looking back at the long-ago wait for Jesus, and we’ll also be talking about the things that we still wait for today. Keep scrolling to see some of our activities during this season. We hope you’ll join us while we wait for Jesus’ birth!
WORSHIP & SERMONS
The season of Advent runs for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day, and the season of Christmas is the 12 Days of Christmas that begin on December 25. During these two seasons, our worship services will be focused on the coming of Jesus Christ—the promises of his birth, the wait for his entry into the world, and what his coming means for us and for all people. We’ll be singing carols and lighting our Advent wreath as we move through this season of waiting.
During this time, Pastor Trey’s sermons will be focused on the theme of waiting. Each week, we’ll hear a story from Scripture related to the birth of Jesus and look at how the people in those story ended up waiting for this great gift. Whether you join us online or in-person, we welcome you to worship with us during this season.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
Christmas Eve is one of the most special nights in the Christian year. Beyond being our annual celebration of the birth of the world’s Savior, we also get to sing some of our favorite songs and put on some of our favorite traditions. It’s an amazing night full of wonder and hope, and in a year like 2020, the world needs those things more than ever! A night of carols and candlelight, prayer and communion sounds like the perfect thing to look forward to this Christmas season.
We want to make sure we celebrate Christmas Eve as safely as possible, so for the time being, we’re not going to announce exactly what our plans are for that day. We’re monitoring the COVID-19 situation in our area closely, and also working with our congregation’s members to see what kind of attendance we can expect for Christmas Eve this year. Once we have a little more information, we’ll make an announcement about how many services we’ll be having and what times they’ll be held at. Thanks for waiting for us to make these decision! (hey, this theme really seems to work for so many things this year…)
BIBLE STUDY—THE ART OF ADVENT & CHRISTMAS
Jesus’ birth—and the wait for his promised arrival—is one of the most meaningful moments in the history of the world. Because of how important these stories are, A LOT of art has been created to help us visualize the events and get closer to God in the process. For the season of Advent, our Wednesday evening Bible study, led by Pastor Trey, will be looking at different artistic depictions of Bible stories surrounding the birth of Jesus. We’ll read the stories from the Bible, and then talk about how the art pieces help us approach those stories. Whether you like to talk about art or just want to dig into the Bible, we hope you’ll join us Wednesdays at 5pm.
LONGEST NIGHT (BLUE CHRISTMAS)
The holiday season can be hard for a lot of us. While the rest of the world seems to be full of cheer and excitement, this season can bring up feelings of grief and loss for many of us. That may never have been more true than it is during this strange and painful year. This service, held on the longest night of the year, December 21, is a chance for us to acknowledge the darkness—our pain, our grief, our worries—in the midst of the holiday lights. Whether you have a pain that you’d like to lift up to God, or if you just want to be there to pray for others who are hurting, you’re invited to join us at 6:30pm on Dec. 21.
GIVE JOY THIS CHRISTMAS
Project Joy is a fantastic local ministry put on by the churches of the Whitehouse Ministerial Alliance, the schools in WISD, and our city government. We provide toys for families that may not be able to afford gifts for their children, and we also provide food for those in need. To find out how you can help us give joy this Christmas season, go to our Project Joy page.