There is a Welsh word called “Hiraeth.” It means a spiritual longing for a home which maybe never was. Nostalgia for ancient places to which we cannot return. It is the echoes of the lost places of our soul’s past and our grief for them. It is in the wind, and the rocks, and the waves. It is nowhere and it is everywhere.
Reading this definition may make one trek away from the “home” I am proposing during Advent: “Close to Home.” Each week we will look at an aspect of our own homes- residential, spiritual, and community-based. I hope as we venture each week into the scriptures we will ask ourselves some personal questions about:
- Homesickness (HOPE)
- Laying the Foundation (PEACE)
- A Home for All (JOY)
- Seeking Sanctuary (LOVE)
- Invited Home
We will look at questions that address the issue of homesickness in relation to how we reach the point of hope in the midst of the “not so good.” How do we lay the kind of foundation that will provide peace in the midst of chaos? What does it mean to have a “home for all?”
And during Advent we will have a special Blue Christmas Service on December 21st, at 7 PM. This is the shortest day of the year, so we hope that the peace and love of Christ may be found in the warmth of the sanctuary and candles as we offer thanksgiving and gratitude for those who have passed on in 2021 or in other years. I will be sharing more information concerning this service.
Christmas Eve will be on Friday, December 24th at 4 PM. In this service you are “Invited Home.”
So, get ready, get set, go…and “keep calm and carry on” because Advent is upon us.
FCC News & Information
Donations for Savers
Women’s Circle will still be collecting clothes and soft goods to go to Savers in early Dec. Please bring in by Dec. 6th. Items should be brought in on Sunday to side parking lot door. Any questions please contact Cheryl Lawrence.
REMINDER: Pioneer Center Wishlist Gifts
Please bring in your Pioneer Center gifts on Sunday, December 12th, they will be dedicated by Pastor Steve. The gifts will be delivered on Monday, December 13th to Pioneer Center.
Christmas Cheer Mugs
Friends and Family of First Congregational Church in need of a little Christmas cheer, also for residents of Deer Path of Huntley (Deer Path of Huntley is the only affordable assisted lifestyle community for adults 22 to 64 with physical disabilities in the northwest Chicago suburbs) who do not have visitors on Christmas. Sunday school will make 50. Donations are needed for hot chocolate packets, candy, Christmas mugs; leave all donations on the Sunday school table in the Fellowship Hall by the couch and toys. You can pick-up your Christmas cheer mugs to be delivered to family and friends December 12- 19. I will deliver the remainder to Deer Path of Huntley and Sue Ericson the administrator will deliver to the residents in need. This is a Sunday school project of sharing and caring. Any questions call Gwen Reed at 847-669-3259.
- Second Sunday of Advent, December 5th
- Third Sunday of Advent, December 12th
- Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 19th
- First day of winter, December 21st
- Christmas Eve, December 24th
- Christmas Day, December 25th
- New Year’s Eve/Watch Night, December 31st
Season of Waiting
Our oven recently bit the dust, and the needed replacement part is no longer manufactured. Due to an appliance shortage, we had to wait eight weeks for a new oven! Yet even amid inconvenience, I see God’s purpose. We were thankful to have a grill and slow cookers in the meantime. We creatively attempted to cook favorite meals in different ways. And though we craved anything baked in an oven — cookies, casseroles, even chicken nuggets — we realized that waiting eight weeks for an oven isn’t truly a trying time. Many of us wait for much greater milestones and miracles: physical healing, the return of a prodigal child, an end to financial struggles. Paul offers us hope as we wait: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” (Romans 15:5, NIV). When you’re in a season of waiting — including Advent! — consider what you’re thankful for and what you crave. Tell God how you’re feeling and ask for endurance while you wait. —Janna Firestone
Remember to Reach Out
For many people, the holidays bring sorrow, grief and stress. If you’re hurting, turn to Jesus and his power. Learn from the woman who, desperate to be healed, reached out to touch the edge of Jesus’ robe and was immediately cured. Sometimes we think our healing process will be so exhaustive that we hesitate to take the first step. Or we doubt that Jesus still performs miracles. Amid your pain, have you reached out? Have you dared to touch Jesus’ robe? He is there, waiting to say: “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34, NIV). – Julie Lee
If only …
There are many of you … who think to yourselves: “If only I had been there! How quick I would have been to help the Baby! I would have washed his linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!” Yes, you would! You say that because you know how great Christ is, but if you had been there at that time, you would have done no better than the people of Bethlehem. … Why don’t you do it now? You have Christ in your neighbor. You ought to serve him, for what you do to your neighbor in need you do to the Lord Christ himself. —Martin Luther
From “The Stable of Bethlehem”
’Twas not a palace proud and fair he chose for his first home;
No dazzling pile of grandeur rare, with pillar’d hall and dome;
Oh no! a stable, rude and poor, received him at his birth;
And thus was born, unknown, obscure, the Lord of heaven and earth. …
Come to your Savior’s lowly bed, ye vain and proud of heart!
And learn with bowed and humbled head the lesson ’twill impart;
’Twill teach you not to prize too high the riches vain of earth —
But to lay up in God’s bright sky treasures of truer worth. … —Rosanna Leprohon (1829-1879)
“All the Christmas presents in the world are worth nothing without the presence of Christ.” —David Jeremiah