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Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, gave us a visit last Sunday at the 10 a.m. service. He was a joy to have and we look forward to whatever the future may bring as we venture further into the liturgical calendar.

This Sunday, December 12th, is known as “Stir Up Sunday!”  On Stir-up Sunday families returned from church to the pudding its traditional lucky stir. The pudding mixture was always stirred from East to West in honor of the three Wise Men who visited the baby Jesus.  While stirring the pudding mixture, each family member would make a secret wish. On their way back from the church, children were often heard chanting the following rhyme:

Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot;

And when we get home we’ll eat the lot.

This of course comes from the Collect for the Third Sunday of Advent:

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever.  Amen.

During the 10 a.m. service, the Liturgy of the Word will include the Christmas Pageant as the sermon. The youth of St. John’s will be presenting this annual dramatization of the birth of Christ as told to us in scripture.  Come and be fed by this live presentation.

Don’t forget the Women’s Luncheon on Wednesday, December 15th!  This will be a special time for the women of the church to gather in a social time to share the season, meet new friends and refresh old relationships. The food will be excellent!  We need you to make the event the perfect way to celebrate the season.

The evening of December 15th is the Hanging of the Greens beginning at 6 p.m.  I was wondering about the origin of this tradition and found the internet to be a great source!  Evidently the English tradition is to have the Hanging of the Greens as a service the First Sunday in Advent. It is based on the tradition of decorating the home with wreaths, garlands, a Christmas tree, and evergreens for Advent and Christmas. In a church setting, it readies the sanctuary (and church members) for the season. There are churches that have actual liturgies for this service! The Episcopal Church honors the long tradition of observing Advent without Christmas carols or Christmas decorations. Well, sort of.  We will be singing Christmas carols before Christmas Eve and that’s OK.

I found this litany for preparing the Hanging of the Greens and thought it gives us just the right attitude to do this incredibly beautiful decorating in preparation for Christmas!

How shall we prepare this house for the birth of Jesus?
With branches of cedar, the tree of excellence and strength.
How shall we prepare this house for the eternal Christ?
With garlands of pine and fir, whose leaves are ever living, ever green.
How shall we prepare this house for the prophet of Galilee?
With wreaths of holly and ivy, telling of his passion, death and resurrection.
How shall we prepare our hearts for this revelation of God?
By hearing again the words of the prophets and the promises of God.
For in the story of Jesus we see revealed the transforming power of God
we are reminded anew of God’s vision of wholeness, justice, and peace for all of creation.
Thanks be to God.

Come and worship! 

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