In the sweltering of July, my mother finds her candles on sale at Hobby Lobby. She is always excited to find three purple and one pink. She can’t wait to call me and ask if I want her to purchase some for me as well. She is thoughtful and generous.
Why is she so happy about unusual colored candles? Because she uses them for her Advent Wreath in December. There is something touching and beautiful about her excitement as she considers celebrating the shocking miracle of the day that Christ came in the flesh to redeem His people.
I love this tradition too, although I never remember the reasons for the different colors. On the four Sundays that precede Christmas, Gabriel, myself, my mother and my father gather in a circle. My mother lights the candle, and then each candle progressively as the weeks continue. The first one will be a stump by the time Christmas arrives.
My father has a book of Scripture and prayer that we take turns reading. We start with the centuries old call of Isaiah and lead into the unbelievable fulfillment of them. No one could have written this story – it’s so perfect and so unimaginable. It is a time to ponder and marvel in anticipation.
We are reminded of our black, our shadows, our red-guilt. We are reminded of His purity, His Light, His red-blood that has cancelled our debt. We wonder, “What was it like for Mary? For Joseph? What about the shepherds?” We read of their fear, their confusion, and their obedience. We discuss the ramifications of their courage and faith.
Sometimes, I weep in our little circle. Quietly, and I don’t think they see it. But to watch my Dad, my Mom, and my son all together in prayer in worship is overwhelming.
It is a gift that I can’t fully express – I know our histories, our struggles, and how God has rescued us and reconciled us. First to Him, and now to each other. Our family has been rocked by death, by disease, by pain and hurt, and yet God’s mercy has enveloped us. It is good to gather and worship together. So good.
Maybe this is why my mother gets so excited in July when she finds those candles?
We are excited to announce that we will have an in-person worship service outside at 8:30am in the MCC parking lot! We can’t wait to see you! In addition, our Sunday live-stream (on Facebook and Instagram) will move to 10:00am for the foreseeable future for those who are not be able to join us.
We’ve chosen for our service to happen outdoors as there are still a number of requirements and protocol for indoor gatherings. So, we are not inviting you to join us indoors at this time. Instead, come for our outdoor gathering, or continue to join us online later from home.
Please read the Guidelines for Gathering to Worship Together at MCC in its entirety so that you know what to expect when you come to our outdoor service. This will help you and those around you navigate a very new situation, hopefully in a way that is as seamless as possible. We believe that our unity will be expressed and strengthened as we serve one another in Christ this week so join us in extending grace to each other, amid our differing perspectives, and different views about how to live in this time.
“... submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
“Outdo one another in showing honor.”
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
Please know that we are making every effort for this gathering to be in full compliance with the protocols given by authorities. No single plan for our meeting will ever be the perfect solution in any one person’s eyes. We will all be making compromises. But as we defer to these guidelines set up by our elders and leadership, we will be serving our fellow believers, honoring Christ as best we can, and providing for a beautiful expression of worship to happen together.
Please stay home if any of the following apply to you:
- You are immunocompromised.
- You are feeling ill (running a fever, coughing, or showing other signs of sickness)
Please don’t put yourself or others at risk. Thank you for staying home and staying safe, because we love you!