Dear Resurrection Family,
Happy Black Friday! Thanksgiving and Black Friday typically mark the start of the Christmas season in America. For Christians the season starts this weekend, as we begin the season of Advent – the season of preparation for celebrating Christ’s birth and recalling his promised return.
Today’s enote has a lot of exciting and important information about Advent and Christmas, including, on this Black Friday, a couple of great gift ideas.
This weekend we’ll kick off our Advent sermon series, Incarnation: Rediscovering the Significance of Christmas. Each week we’ll look at one of the six titles given to Jesus in the Christmas stories in the gospels.
This week, we turn to the title Christ. The word appears over 500 times in the New Testament, and though some use it as if it were Jesus’ last name, it is a title which literally means, “oil-smeared one.” We’ll find out what this title meant to first-century Jews and Christians and what it means for us. Have a drop of olive oil, vegetable oil, scented oil or lotion ready at the conclusion of the sermon. You’ll understand why when the sermon is over.
You’ll see this weekend in worship, online or on TV, that the chancel is beautifully adorned for Advent. You’ll see Christmas trees, poinsettias and our Advent wreath. The wreath has four candles, one additional candle is lit each week of Advent, and the Christ candle which we will light on Christmas Eve.
Since we cannot be together in person for worship, we’re inviting you to have your own Advent wreath at home and to light the candles, one each week, as we light them in worship. Many will be using the Advent wreath kits purchased from the church. (We have a few kits left – here’s the link to order.) If you ordered a kit, you can pick it up Sunday between 12:30 and 2:30 pm or Monday between 6-8 pm at each of our locations.
You can also simply gather five candles from your home and create your own makeshift wreath. Greenery is not required.
This week, instead of lighting a candle before worship begins, we’ll invite you to join in the candle-lighting ritual at home. I think you’ll find this meaningful. Invite a friend to join us online at cor.org/live tomorrow night at 5 pm, Sunday at 7:30 am, 9:15 am, 11 am or 5 pm, or on KMCI Channel 38 Sunday at 8 am or 11 am. For a listing of where KMCI is found on various cable providers, click here.
We have an Advent devotional guide you can download online that is meant to be used each week of Advent as you light your candle. It is free and you can download the devotional guide here.
We also have materials and resources for families and children that you can download at cor.org/Christmas. I hope you’ll take advantage of the printable materials and videos to help your children understand the true meaning of Christmas.
I encourage you to commit to an Advent study over the next month. We are offering two options:
Here’s the link to learn more about the study, to register for the class, or to find a small group.
Thank you to the more than 2,700 of you who have already turned in a commitment for 2021. I am grateful for those of you who have stepped forward in generosity during this challenging year.
During worship this week, you’ll see stacks of thank you cards representing each of your commitments/pledges on the altar. Each is personalized and has your name on it and a prayer for you. We’ll continue to add cards as we receive your pledges. Over the next few weeks, our staff will pray over these cards, each one by name, and then send the thank you notes to you.
If you haven’t completed your online pledge card yet, you can go to pledge.cor.org to see the impact your generosity has had through the life of our church and to watch short video testimonies concerning generosity. If you’re ready to complete your pledge card, you can do it right now by clicking here. We’ll add your thank you card to the others this coming week, and next weekend we will commit all of our pledges to God for the coming year.
As a small token of our thanks, each household that makes a pledge receives our new 2021 Coffee Mug with our #LoveYourNeighbor logo on it. Every child and teen who makes a commitment will receive their own mug as well! We’ll be handing out mugs this Sunday from 12:30 to 2:30 pm or Monday from 6 to 8 pm at each of our campuses – just follow the signs and drive-through and we’ll hand you your mug!
Most churches across the country will not be meeting in-person for Christmas Eve services, or will do so with very limited numbers. Our Christmas Eve services will be online and televised with beautiful music, a hope-filled message on the light of Christ, and we’ll conclude with the traditional lighting of the candles as we sing Silent Night.
We’ll be inviting worshipers to light their candles at home as our pastors and worship team light the candles in the sanctuary.
We’ll be providing candles for Resurrection members to pick up later this month, but we wanted to give you an opportunity to give the gift of Candlelight Christmas Eve to your friends and family across the country who may not otherwise go to church. We’ve partnered with Cokesbury, the bookstore of the United Methodist Church, to create a gift box with candles, paper discs to catch the wax dripping, and an invitation to join Resurrection for Candlelight Christmas Eve online.
These gifts are ordered online and are shipped directly to your friends or family. Each gift is $10 (which includes shipping) and has ten candles for their family or friends. Kits begin shipping December 4, and must be ordered by December 7 to ensure delivery before Christmas Eve.
This is a meaningful experience you can give to others as a gift, and, in the process, help them to know and experience Christ’s light and the hope of Christmas for themselves. Here’s the link to the site to order candles. Remember, these are to order and send to friends and family to invite them to join you for Christmas Eve worship – we’ll have candles for local members to pick up at our campuses.
My Tuesday night Vespers will be a special Evensong Service this week. In many traditions, Evensong is a service of evening prayers, psalms and canticles. Our service will be a new expression of this ancient tradition. I’ll share a brief devotion and then we’ll share beautiful Christmas music and prayers, led by our gifted Resurrection musicians.
This will be a meaningful and inspiring way to get into the Christmas season. In addition to streaming on Facebook Live, this service will also be on our website at cor.org/live. I hope you’ll join me at Tuesday night at 7:30.
I mentioned this last week, but in case you missed it, we are planning some exciting things for small groups in January, and hope to be able to create new groups to help our congregation across the city and the country to continue to grow in their faith and develop Christian friendships. To do this, we need people to step up and facilitate these groups. We’ll provide training and resources over the next month.
Beginning Monday, Church of the Resurrection Leawood will be one of four locations where Johnson County Health Department offers drive-through COVID testing. They will be set up in parking lots A4, A5 and A6 on the south side of Resurrection Leawood, off Nall Ave. You can learn more about the testing on their website.
Finally, as you are thinking about your Christmas gift giving this year, our Christmas Eve offerings will be designated for projects benefitting children and families in poverty, with half of the offering serving families in Kansas City, and half serving children and families in some of the most impoverished communities in the world. We’ll share more about this in the coming weeks.
We’re preparing a way for you to give a gift to this offering on behalf of a family member or friend. They will receive an email from Resurrection letting them know of this gift from you and how this gift will be used to give hope and help to children and families. In this way, you give twice – you help children in need, and you give a meaningful gift to a friend or family member that touches them and bears witness to your faith.
Each year we encourage you to think about giving a gift equal to what you spend on your own family at Christmas. Hundreds do this and more. Many can’t do this amount but give generously in whatever way they can. LaVon and I made this donation already using stock that had appreciated this year, allowing us to give more than we could otherwise have done.
I look forward to worshiping with you this weekend as we begin Advent.
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Pkwy
Olathe, KS 66061
1601 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
8412 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
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