This Sunday begins the New Year in the life of the church, it is the first Sunday of Advent. Let’s talk about two things in this article. First let’s talk about the church year and second the Season of Advent.
The Church Year is part of more traditional/liturgical churches. The idea behind the church year is that every year, as disciples of Jesus, we follow his life, deepen our understanding of who he is and strive to become more like him…learning his ways and showing his love. We go through an annual cycle of spiritual growth. Here are the stages:
- Advent we prepare our souls to accept Jesus in at a deeper level.
- We remember Jesus’ call to ministry and his launching through his baptism.
- During Lent we remember this temptation and commitment to the Father’s will.
- During Holy Week we remember that his commitment to doing God’s will as it led him into conflict with the religious leaders and then to the Upper Room, Gethsemane, the Trial, the Cross, the Tomb.
- On Easter we celebrate the power of God as he was raised from the death.
- We then walk with the resurrected Lord in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
- The Longest period in the Church Year follows Pentecost (6 months). As the Holy Spirit increasingly enters our lives, we receive his instruction as we study Jesus’ life, teachings, and the Word of God which Jesus taught and followed.
- The Church Year ends with Christ the King Sunday when we anticipate Jesus returning at his 2nd Advent to defeat Satan and establish God’s Kingdom for all and forever.
The Church Year begins with the Season of Advent. The word Advent is an Old English word. It comes from the Latin adventus meaning ‘arrival’ and is made from the Latin verb, advenire, from ad-‘to’ + venire ‘come’. So, when we think of Advent we are preparing for Jesus’ arrival.
But there is more to this Season of Advent. Dennis Bratcher, an author I like to read for his research, wrote an article titled, “The Season of Advent: Anticipation and Hope”,
…The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation (the HOPE) of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about the heart of God, that in Christ, all of creation might be reconciled to God and restored to all God designed and desired it to be (Romans 8:18ff). That is the process in which we now participate. That is the consummation for which we HOPE.
The Church Year ends with the 2nd Advent, Christ the King Sunday. The Church Year begins with remembering the 1st Advent. We are caught in-between. As one of my seminary professors said, “It is the ‘already’ (Jesus came) and the ‘not yet,’ (Jesus is coming again).” And so, as we celebrate Jesus’ first coming at Christmas, let us never forget to also prepare for his 2nd Advent when he returns not as the one who would grow to die for our sins, but as the King who will come to defeat the power of evil and establish the Kingdom of God forever.
Preparing to meet the Lord afresh this year with you,
News & Events
Sunday, December 3rd
9:00 a.m. Bible Study, Acts 24-25
10:00 a.m. Worship Service with Pastor Paul Hayden
Monday December 4th
5:30 p.m. Handbells practice
7:00 p.m. Choir practice
Tuesday, December 5th
7:00 a.m. Men’s Bible Study & Breakfast
Wednesday, December 6th
10:00 a.m. LAMBS
5:00 Cookie Decorating Class, see info below
5:30 p.m. FPC Youth Night, see info below
Thursday December 7th
10:00 a.m. Bible Babes
Check out the Events Calendar for more upcoming events.
Cookie Decorating Class!
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6th
First Presbyterian Church Whitefish, in the Fellowship Hall. All supplies will be provided, just show up and ice cookies!
$25 per person at the door, all ages welcome.
Max of 20 people. Sign up in Fellowship Hall or contact the church office at (406)862-2802
Christmas Stroll Cookies
Calling all bakers! We will be handing out cookies for the Christmas Stroll again this year and are looking for volunteers to bake treats. Cookies can be dropped off at the church Dec 5th – Dec. 8th between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. If you would like to take part in handing out cookies look for the sign up sheet in Fellowship Hall.
PW Christmas Party!
Presbyterian Women would like to invite you to their annual Christmas party on Tuesday, December 12th at 1:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Please come and join us for a time of fellowship, Christmas carols, delicious desserts, and of course door prizes. All women and guests are welcome but we would like you to Rsvp so we can be prepared. Please respond to Merri Williamson or Susan Tate. Our program will be the opportunity to share the story of a Christmas memory, a Christmas recipe, a special Christmas program or present ,or a Christmas family tradition. It will be enjoyable to hear your special memories. Come and fellowship with us.
Blessings, Susan and Merri.
Exciting News: FPC Kids Group Launching on Wednesday Nights in December!
Dear FPC Family,
We hope this message finds you well and filled with the joy and gratitude of the season. We’re thrilled to share some exciting news about a new program at our church that we believe will bring both fun and purpose to Wednesday evenings for grades 4 and up.
Starting this December, we will be launching the FPC Kids Group on two Wednesday evenings per month!
What to Expect:
Dinner: We’re grateful to have volunteers cook for us on these special evenings. A kid friendly delicious meal will be served, providing an opportunity for our kids to gather, share, and connect.
Programming: The intentional programming for these evenings will include a mix of service projects and discussions on topics that tie in everyday life and issues to our Christian Faith.
For the first month, we’ve planned two exciting Wednesday nights on December 6th and 13th. Here’s a sneak peek into what we have in store:
December 6th 5:30 – 7:30pm:
- Meeting Point:Church downstairs
- Activity: Shopping for kids whose name has been submitted by the Abbie Shelter (shelter for domestic abuse)
- Dinner and discussion about the purpose and significance of our shopping trip.
- Teams will be formed, and with adult supervision, our kids will embark on a shopping extravaganza at Walmart or Target. They will have a specific list and budget to adhere to, making this a meaningful and impactful experience.
- Important Note:This night is part of our effort to support a family for Christmas.
December 13th 5:30 – 7pm:
- Meeting Point:Church Fellowship Hall
- Activity: Wrapping the gifts and creating some loving kindness extras for the gift recipients
- Dinner with reflection on the impact of their shopping experience and how we can extend our help on a broader spectrum.
- Gift-wrapping session for all the purchased items.
- A fun game, promising laughter and joyful memories.
We believe these Wednesday nights will not only be enjoyable for our kids but will also instill values of empathy, generosity, and community service. We encourage all families with children to participate and make these evenings a time of learning, bonding, and giving back to our community.
We can’t wait to see the positive impact our FPC Kids Group will have on our church family and the broader community.
How Can You Help? Donate money to our FPC Kids fund to provide enough money for us to sponsor 6 kiddos complete with gifts, clothes, and an extra something from our very loving/giving church family!
I’m Shelle. I sit in the congregation with you, sing in the choir, and enjoy fellowship in Bible Study and with ALL of God’s People. I retired in 2008 after 24 years of Youth Ministry, the last seven years at FPC Whitefish. I am listening and responding to a call to serve our kiddos. I know there is no retirement clause in the Bible! Along with some committed parents, we are looking forward to bringing some counterculture to our FPC Kids and their friends. Please pray for this new ministry and for all of the people with whom it will touch. GOD IS GOOD – ALL THE TIME!