Advent & Christmas Calendar 2017

Sunday, December 10  |  Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

— 4:00 PM

Lessons and Carols, a tradition beginning in 1878 at Truro Cathedral in Cornwall, England, utilizes nine scripture readings to chronicle the story of Christ from beginning of creation through the pen of John the Apostle.

The adult choir and handbells will offer beautiful reflections to each reading as well as lead the congregation in several familiar carols during the service.

A reception of seasonal treats will follow.

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Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Worship Services

On Christmas Eve we will celebrate the birth of the Christ child with three festive services.

Dec. 24 at 3pm – Christmas Eve Pageant

Bring the family and enjoy the reenactment of the Birth of Jesus. All children are encouraged to participate. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your child to be fitted for a costume. No prior rehearsal needed. The pageant includes the singing of familiar Christmas carols and is woven into the celebration of Holy Eucharist. This service is especially geared toward preschool and elementary age children but a joy to all!

Dec. 24 at 5:30pm – Family Service

At 5:30 we will have a festive yet more informal and abridged (than our late service) Christmas celebration as we incorporate our youth into the worship service.   This service is intended for individuals and families whose children have aged out of the pageant (upper elementary and up) but find the hour of the late service…. well…just a bit too late. The service will also include Holy Eucharist and the singing of familiar carols.

Dec. 24 at 10:15 – Carols & Vigil

This service is one of, if not the, most beautiful and holy services of the church year as our choir leads us in carols as we sing out that Christ is born! Carols begin at 10:15, followed by the service at 10:30.

Dec. 25 at 9:30am – Christmas Day Eucharist

Let’s rejoice together on Christmas Day with an informal service as we remember the reason we celebrate Christmas. This service is a great way to celebrate Christmas Day with your parish family.

Christmas Week Worship Services

Dec. 21 at 7pm – Blue Christmas Service

A Blue Christmas Service or a Longest Night service acknowledges that Christmas is not always met with joy and celebration. Sometimes it can be difficult to participate in the glad carols and merriment of our Christmas services. This service provides an opportunity to light candles acknowledging the people we miss, the pain or emptiness we may feel. In lighting the candles we proclaim Christ’s presence and that foundational truth from that first chapter of John that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”. We sing carols more reflective of Christmas hope than joy, we offer prayers for healing, we break bread together and (of course) we support one another.

Following the service there will be opportunity for continued prayer in the chapel and coffee and dessert in the parish hall.

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Table Talk: Week of December 18, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter.

Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

We have lit three candles ─ for hope, for peace, and for joy. Today we add the fourth candle ─ the candle of love. With this flame we signify the love of God that surrounds and fills us at all times, but that we recognize in a special way in the Christmas story. There is no greater power than love. It is stronger than rulers and empires, stronger than grief or despair, stronger even than death. We love, because he loves us.

(All four candles are lit.)

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of December 18, 2016”

Table Talk: Week of December 18, 2016

As your children learn about Advent and the story of Jesus’ birth in Sunday School this season, we encourage you to continue the conversation at home. Each week, we will provide you with the reading done in church for the lighting of our Advent Candles and questions that can be used to discuss them. You can use them as you light your own candles or simply as a conversation-starter.

Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

We have lit three candles ─ for hope, for peace, and for joy. Today we add the fourth candle ─ the candle of love. With this flame we signify the love of God that surrounds and fills us at all times, but that we recognize in a special way in the Christmas story. There is no greater power than love. It is stronger than rulers and empires, stronger than grief or despair, stronger even than death. We love, because he loves us.

(All four candles are lit.)

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of December 18, 2016”

Bread Baking: Christmas Edition is This Friday, December 16!

Food for Friends – CHRISTMAS Bread Edition is Coming up THIS Friday, December 16, Starting at 3pm!

We had a very successful Thanksgiving Bread Baking project this year, baking over 700 loaves of bread in about nine hours a few weeks ago – thank you to the volunteers who partnered with us on that project.  We had so much fun that we’ve decided we couldn’t wait a whole year to do it again!  We are partnering with Fauquier FISH to provide loaves of bread for their Christmas food basket project later in December.

Mark your calendars for Friday afternoon / evening December 16. 

Continue reading “Bread Baking: Christmas Edition is This Friday, December 16!”

Advent & Christmas Worship Services

December 11 at 4pm – Christmas Concert

This year’s program will feature the Saint James’ Adult Choir, Handbells, Youth Chorale, as well as a guest string quartet. The music ranges from plainsong, a chorus from the Messiah, to newly composed music, and it is  supported by scripture readings that chronicle the story of Christ. A reception with seasonal treats will follow the concert.

Dec. 16 at 11am – K-5 Christmas Pageant

Join us for the annual Saint James’ Episcopal School Elementary Christmas Pageant.  Students will re-enact the nativity of Jesus Christ with costume, song, and prayer. It’s a beautiful program and you shouldn’t miss it! It will be streamed too.

Dec. 21 at 7pm – Blue Christmas Service

A Blue Christmas Service or a Longest Night service acknowledges that Christmas is not always met with joy and celebration. Sometimes it can be difficult to participate in the glad carols and merriment of our Christmas services. This service provides an opportunity to light candles acknowledging the people we miss, the pain or emptiness we may feel. In lighting the candles we proclaim Christ’s presence and that foundational truth from that first chapter of John that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”. We sing carols more reflective of Christmas hope than joy, we offer prayers for healing, we break bread together and (of course) we support one another.

Following the service there will be opportunity for continued prayer in the chapel and coffee and dessert in the parish hall.

Continue reading “Advent & Christmas Worship Services”

Gingerbread House Making & Spaghetti Dinner on December 7

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7th @ 5:00 PM

Join us for this annual event of family fun!

The cost will be $10 per gingerbread house, and $5 per person for dinner (no more than $20 per family for dinner).

Let us know how many houses your family will need so we can be sure to have it available for you.

Fill out the form below to sign up; there is also a sign-up sheet outside the parish hall.

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Advent Reflections: December 25th

advent reflections (2)For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas! Our waiting is over.  Christ is born, those who lived in a land of deep darkness—them light has shined.  I hope that as you enjoy this glorious day; as you open those thoughtfully given presents, as you enjoy time and break bread with loved ones, that you remember the world earth-shattering truth of this day.  God has broken down all barriers between God and God’s people.  

I find one of the most powerful truths of Christ’s birth is that this is not just the unfolding of God’s divine plan but an defining act of God done “for us” and “to us”. “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us”.   God became like us, took on all that it meant to be flesh, blood, and the hardest part – all that bound within.  And God did it for us, like a parent backing away from the stove, getting up from the desk, crouching down and meeting their child’s pain eye to eye.   God our “Wonderful Counselor, [our] Mighty God, [our] Everlasting Father, [the] Prince of Peace” walks this journey right beside us.  

Merry Christmas!

– The Reverend Ben Maas

Advent Reflections: December 24th

advent reflections (2)“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” – Luke 2:1-20 7

And so we have come again, to this holy night. The night when Mary gave birth to the most extraordinary child, promised from before time; to heal the nations, to heal the sick, to rescue us from our own propensity for evil and destruction.

Jesus, set down gently in the midst of it all, wrapped in bands of cloth by His loving mother whose heart would grow, whose heart would break. Because that is what happens when love comes down among us, and we, unlike the innkeeper, find room for Him in our hearts.

In all that you do today, in the hustle and bustle, in the joy and in the sadness, in the excitement and in the disappointments, take a moment to be still. To be still, and to recall why we celebrate this night. Join the Holy family in the stable, gathered around the manger, where God became for us a tiny child, the wonder of birth, of new life, of hope for this day and confidence in life everlasting.

Holy One, on this night fill us anew with the awe and wonder of your love for us. May we find time in our lives for you today and always, Amen.

– The Reverend Lyn Youll Marshall

Christmas Poem by Betsy Keith

snow3

Many parishioners will remember Elizabeth C. Keith “Betsy” (1911-2011), a member of the Keith family that has been a part of Hamilton Parish for nearly 300 years.  Betsy’s career as a teacher at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina was marked by high standards of excellence.  She was Head of the English Department and Director of Dramatics.  On retirement, Betsy immersed herself in the life of Saint James’ Church.  She left a legacy of giving of all sorts, including her poetry, one of which is particularly meaningful at this Christmas time.

Only in Silence

The wind that shook the rafters night and day,

And lashed the woods, and drove the clouds along

At sunset now has died and passed away.

Low in the rosy light of the western sky

The golden crescent of the moon descends:

The nights are very long: the year is old.

The evening star shines forth, the short day ends,

The moon slips down behind the purple hills,

And darkness settles over all the earth.

But the moon will shine in splendor on the night

We celebrate our blessed Savior’s birth. …

Sometimes at Christmas only stars are seen,

Glittering and brilliant with a frosty light,

And once I came from church on Christmas Eve

When snow was falling, soft and feathery white.

One needs to get away from city lights and noise

To know the beauty of a Christmas night

In moonlight, starlight, or the hush of snow.

God grant to you such beauty and such silences to know:

Only in silence do inner angels sing,

“Glory to God on high, glory to Christ the King.”

 

ECK, 1988

Christmas Gift Ideas from the Green Team

Many of the best gifts in life are not things!

Would you consider giving and getting less stuff this year?  By reducing the energy required to produce, package, and transport surplus goods, we can contribute to our planet’s health and well-being.

If you decide to make changes in your gift-giving habits, you might think about starting gradually.  Find a few ideas and give them a try this holiday season.  

Here are some alternative gift ideas

Please share your own ideas and special traditions at greenteam@saintjameswarrenton.org

  1. Give an experience.
    • Music, art, riding, or sports lessons
    • One-on-one date night with a child
    • Plan for a movie, play, concert, museum or sporting event with dinner, ice cream or snacks.  The child has your complete and undivided attention.
    • Winter weekend get-away for the whole family
    • Access to a heated pool at your motel/hotel would be a treat in itself.  For children who love splashing around in the water, winter swimming is awesome.  The pool doesn’t need to have Olympic dimensions.  Any size will do.    
    • A subscription to a magazine expands a child’s horizons every month.
    • Cricket Magazine is a great choice.
    • Start a new tradition in which family members write individual notes of appreciation to everyone in the family.  These messages are affirming, honor shared feelings, and strengthen family ties.
  2. Donate to a charity in the name of a loved one or organize an alternative gift fair to support local and international charities.  Because this may be a departure from your traditional gift exchange with family and friends, you might tell them gently that you prefer their supporting a charity instead of buying gifts for you.

 

  1.  Give the gift of time. Create a gift certificate that offers babysitting, a lunch date with a friend or relative, a home-cooked meal, or whatever you wish to share.
  1.  Give something that you made such as baked goods, spiced pecans, baking mix in a jar, birdseed wreath, or Tried & True Hand Cream

 

  1.  Select fair trade products for the coffee, tea, and chocolate lovers on your list.
  1.  Check out the reusable bags at www.chicobag.com    
    • These bags come in many sizes.  Folded up, they are tiny when not in use.  (So easy to carry!)  They make terrific gifts.

Here are other actions that are sure to spread good cheer.  They certainly did in my life during the past year!  As the recipient of every one of these thoughtful gestures, I am thankful to both friends and strangers…..

  • Pay the bill for strangers at the table across the room.  When the waitress told us that our bill had been paid by someone we didn’t know who had already left the restaurant, we were astonished.  That initial act of generosity sparked us to do the same for other strangers in that room – and perhaps they did so as well.  Never underestimate the impact of one random act of kindness!
  • Write a letter to someone you haven’t seen or talked with in a long time.   The blessing of reconnecting is priceless!
  • Give away a really good book that you enjoyed to someone with similar reading tastes.  You may even think of more favorite “treasures” to share with others.
  • Give narcissus bulbs (also called paper whites) that grow in water on a bed of stones or gravel.  The fragrant blooms warm both the heart and soul when cold weather seems endless.
  • Host a potluck or a wine tasting to bring people together.  Invite everyone to contribute food and/or wine.
  • Shovel snow for an elderly neighbor

Charity Contact Information

** Your additional ideas will be appreciated. Share them at greenteam@saintjameswarrenton.org

Episcopal Relief and Development

  • info@episcopalrelief.org
  • Box 7058
  • Merrifield, VA
  • 22116-7058

Soroti Ministry

Fauquier Food Bank fauquiercommunityfoodbank@comcast.net

  • 249 E. Shirley Avenue
  • Warrenton, VA  20186

Fauquier Free Clinic

  • fauquierfreeclinic.org
  • 35 Rock Pointe Lane
  • Warrenton, VA  20186

Learning Starts Early Fund

  • info@npcf.org
  • Northern Piedmont Community Foundation
  • P O Box 5
  • Culpeper, VA
  • 22701

Recipes

TRIED & TRUE HAND CREAM

  • Terrific Home Remedy for Chapped Hands!!!
  • 15 oz. bottle of baby lotion
  •  8 oz. Vitamin E cream
  •  6 oz. Vaseline
  • Mix all together with mixer until whipped and fluffy.
  • Divide into small glass jars.
  • Give as gifts and enjoy!  

GELATIN BIRDSEED WREATH

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
  • 4 cups bird seed
  • Bundt pan
  • Nonstick spray
  • In a large bowl, stir the gelatin into warm water until it is dissolved.
  • Whisk in the corn syrup and flour.  
  • Stir well to make a paste.
  • Pour the 4 cups of seeds into the paste and mix until it is very well combined.
  • Press the mixture – a little at a time – firmly into the Bundt pan.
  • You will notice in the morning the paste has become really hard.  It has a whitish color.
  • Just turn the pan upside down and the wreath will slide right out onto a drying rack.  Allow it to dry completely……be careful not to break it though.
  • Tie a ribbon and hang it for birds to enjoy!

This catalogue is brought to you from Saint James’ Green Team with warm wishes for meaningful Advent and Christmas seasons.         

 

Operation Christmas Child

Our parish will be supporting Operation Christmas Child again this year. This ministry of Samaritan’s Purse collects and distributes gift-filled shoeboxes and the messag12185282_10153688125503209_7270176460933717232_oe of God’s love to children in trying circumstances around the world.

Parishioners of all ages can fill a shoebox and be involved in this simply, hands-on mission project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas – Jesus Christ.

A $7 donation is requested for each shoebox to help cover shipping and program costs).

Informational brochures and boxes are available on stage in the parish hall or from Michelle Place.

Our final collection date will be Sunday, November 15. Completed shoeboxes can be delivered to the church anytime before then.