St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri
November 28, 2021

The First Sunday of Advent

An Advent Reflection by Brian Zahnd

Ours is a secular age. The sacred is pushed to the periphery. To keep the sacred at the center of our lives is a heroic act of defiance. Spirituality is not enough. Amorphous spirituality too easily becomes little more than a mood with a sprinkling of wellness” techniques. We need something more rigorous, something more deeply rooted, something that draws upon the deep wells of ancient wisdom and practice.
This is what we find in the Great Tradition of Christian faith. Within the Great Tradition we have a sacred calendar – a way of marking time through the course of the year by telling the story of Jesus Christ. We have a secular calendar to coordinate our lives within a secular age, and we have a sacred calendar to form our lives through the gospel story.
Of course now Christmas is firmly entrenched in the secular calendar as well, but the way the sacred calendar and the secular calendar approach Christmas is quite different. The demand of the secular “Christmas Season” is to be in a great hurry, while the aim of Advent is to instill a quiet slowness into our soul.
Advent is four weeks of longing for the coming of the Messiah. Advent is about waiting – a practice most of us in our secular age struggle with. Yet patience is a holy virtue we need to cultivate.

So on the first Sunday of Advent, we embrace the slowness, we lean into the waiting. And this is good for our souls. St James Episcopal Church in Springfield would like to invite the women of St Alban’s (and any others) to an Advent morning retreat on Saturday, December 4 from 10-12 followed by lunch. Advent is especially a woman’s season -Come to reflect on why that might be.
This event is free of charge, but St James would like to know how many are coming, so please call the church at 417-881-3073.The address is 2645 E. Southern Hills Blvd., Springfield. Mother Cathy will be going if anyone would like to meet at Church and ride down together. Let her know: 417-399-4671.

December at St Alban’s If you have done your shopping for Share Your Christmas, please return the item, unwrapped, labeled, and place it in the box by the entrance to the church.
Please sign up for an hour or two to assist on December 14, Tuesday, with shopping and building the bags once all the gifts for our age group have been delivered to St Albans. This is a LONG day – and we can use your help!
Anyone with with a truck is especially needed. Once we have finished packing the bags in the early afternoon they all have to be delivered to the Assembly of God activity building and organized by number for easier delivery on Wednesday and Thursday. We need help on Wednesday AND Thursday for the actual SYC event. Anyone who has done this knows it is fun and easy – and a great way to see your friends from other Polk County churches. PLEASE sign up!

Other December Events at St Alban’s
Next Sunday, December 5the Second Sunday of Advent
It is also the eve of St. Nicholas. There will be more details this week, but do plan to stay after church to decorate St Nicholas cookies to give to teachers, neighbors, or friends – Children love the messiness of cookie decorating, and so, really do adults! Simple lunch available-

December 12the Third Sunday of Advent
Sandy Sherry will sing at the the Offertory; you don’t want to miss it. We will have a meal after church prepared by Father Jos Tharakan, his wife Kimby – and Mother Cathy. Jos will also preach and celebrate Eucharist that day. Please let us know ASAP that you will be staying, so that we can get an approximate count of the number for whom we need to prepare! After lunch we will need to set up all the bags for Share Your Christmas, label them, and fill them with toiletries. We will bring down all the other gifts stored upstairs to supplement the bags – so we will need muscles.

December 19Fourth Sunday of Advent
After Church we will be making straw Christmas ornaments. Even little children can do this. We have some simple instructions, and what they do will be surprisingly beautiful!
We will also bring down and set up the large Christmas tree between the parish hall and the nave. Simple lunch will be available.

Friday, December 24, Christmas Eve
If the weather permits, we will set up luminarias on our sidewalks again, about 2:00 pm. We haven’t done this for several years, but it is remarkably beautiful once they are lit before the evening service! Christmas Eve Eucharist is at 5:30 pm. Christmas goodies and hot chocolate afterwards for any who can stay.
Sunday, December 26 – The first Sunday in Christmastide



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