An Advent Invitation

Dear Friends In Christ,Happy New Year!!!I know, I know. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet. But starting this Sunday we turn the page of the church calendar to begin a new year with the season of Advent. I, for one, am enchanted by the changes that happen in our community and church this time of year. The scarves and gloves come out of the closet. The familiar melodies of christmas songs I’ve sung since my childhood begin to be heard all over the place. Windows, houses and trees are suddenly illuminated with lights and decorations to offset the darkness of the coldest time of year. Christmas parties, trees, carols, cookies, cards, presents, lights… lefse. It’s a lot to look forward to.That’s not to say that winter isn’t difficult to get through. It is difficult. It’s hard not to struggle as we are surrounded by the pressures to buy more, save more, travel more, work more, pay more bills and nurture healthy relationships all while the weather is getting colder and the nights are getting longer. Sometimes I feel like taking Advent off, thinking I could just skip straight to Christmas, or even past that, to avoid the waiting, the working, the darkness and the cold. It’s a lot of work. We all have stories of hardship. Someone who lost a job over this past year. A sick family member. An unhealthy relationship. Someone struggling with addiction. A son or daughter who is serving overseas. The feeling of a crushing depression that only intensifies as the holidays approach. Too many years we have pretended like these hardships don’t exist. It is unbearable to consider going through another season this way.So what do we do? How can we help ourselves? How can we help each other? I’ll tell you what I think. It may seem simple. Perhaps trite. Even too good to be true:We gather together. Once a week. We bring lots of candles so we can scatter the darkness. We meet each other face to face. We sing together. We share meals. We read scripture. We pray. We pray for ourselves. We pray for our families. We pray for the world. We pray for healing. We pray for peace. We pray for hope. We pray for light. We pray for love that might end hate. We pray for understanding and we pray for strength. And we pray for the promised coming of God’s new Kingdom. We are the church and we owe it to ourselves to support ourselves and to support one another in community, in love, in worship and in prayer.You are invited to join us in worship.Grace and Peace,Sean BendicksonMusic & Worship LeaderOur Savior’s Lutheran Church, 215 Mukilteo Blvd. Everett, WASunday November 28, 6pm Holden Evening Prayer & Holy Communionwith guest Pastor Elizabeth FeltSunday December 5, 6pm Holden Evening Prayer & Holy CommunionSunday December 12, 6pm Holden Evening Prayer & Holy CommunionSunday December 19, 6pm “Christmas in a Minor Key” Prayer & Healing Servicewith guest musician Annemarie Eklund RusselFriday December 24, 5pm & 11pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

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