Available on the St. Mark's YouTube channel
starting Thursday morning, December 24th
“The Good News We Need”
We invite you to join with the St. Mark’s community for a very beautiful Christmas Eve worship experience.
The evening opens with a "Concert of Joy":
- The First Noel - Genuine Brass
- I Saw Three Ships - piano duet: Merry Cary and Laura Chen
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing - string trio: Kurt Muth, Kimberly Lafranzo, Andrea Lafranzo
- Twas in the Moon of Wintertime - handbell quartet: Matt Greising, Sue Hilderbrand, Dotty Johnson, Jon Miller
- Come Lord Jesus Come - St. Mark's Festival Choir, Melk Abbey, Austria
The service includes carol singing, a special children's message, Holy Communion, and our traditional singing of "Silent Night" by candlelight in a joyous ending.
Here’s what you’ll need for the full experience:
- The Order of Worship (download here)
- Bread or crackers, plus wine or juice, if you’d like to participate in Communion from home
- Candles for the singing of “Silent Night”
Come, renew your spirits and experience hope as we celebrate the God's gift of love, Emmanuel, God with Us!
Children's Christmas Program
"What Really Happened in Bethlehem? Kids Tell the Story"
It's not too late to catch the best smiles around! We asked the children from St. Mark's what they understand about the story of Jesus' birth, and their answers are wonderful, funny, and touching. With great joy, we offer you this very special, virtual children's Christmas program.
Advent is a season of waiting.
Each week during Advent, we offer a short reflection and prayer to help you focus on your longing for God in your life.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. (Psalm 25:1)
SCRIPTURE READING: Daniel 6:6-27
Sometimes a small gesture, a pause, a waiting period can make a huge difference. In the Narrative Lectionary reading for the first Sunday of Advent, we hear the story of Daniel, whose loyalty to worship the only God turns an entire kingdom toward God. It is clear that the prophet’s heart is strongly centered on God. If we are honest, we are often plagued by our own confusion and our own will. There is so much to be fearful of, so much distressing news, so much waiting! READ MORE
I am confident of this; that the one who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. (Philippians 1:6)
SCRIPTURE READING: Joel 2:12-13, 28-29
As Advent is under way, we can be tempted with visions of consumerism. But God’s Holy Spirit offers visions far more satisfying and lasting. In our Narrative readings, we are told that Israel has strayed and is in exile. But God is not done with her yet. God promises the Holy Spirit, which will bring dreams and visions of a life far better than this. During Advent there is a sense of anticipation. A willingness to make the necessary preparations is a strong theme during Advent. We wait with purpose. READ MORE
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and to release the prisoners….(Isaiah 61)
SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 6 1:1-11; Luke 4:16-21
God’s Holy Spirit brings with it the gifts of salvation and righteousness--far greater gifts than sparkly things and new stuff. In this week's reading, the Prophet Isaiah was writing to the people of Israel at the time of their exile in Babylon. Even though they had sinned and were away from all that was familiar, God still promised them a better future. One day God would adorn the people with salvation and righteousness. READ MORE
Blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what had been spoken to her. (Luke 1:34)
SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 1: 26-45
Waiting can be a hard but necessary element in the arrival of something important. Without fanfare, an angel announces the coming of a baby to Mary. While she waits, she takes the opportunity to seek out her support community and prepare for the child’s arrival. We are not accustomed to believing the things angels tells us in the middle of the night. READ MORE
This 4-week reflection on waiting is adapted/shaped by Ruth Haley Barton’s Advent Reflections, Come, Lord Jesus Come and used with permission from Clergy Stuff Lectionary Resources.
Artwork © Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com WK 1: Waiting for the Revealing; WK 2: Little Red Book; WK 3: Those Who Walked in Darkness; WK 4: Magnificat