With the celebration of Thanksgiving we officially enter the holiday season. I know among churchpeople it’s a liturgical outrage to breathe a word of Christmas until Advent has been given its due. In fact, I know parishes where they won’t even start decorating for Christmas until the afternoon of December 24th. They’re purist and we can admire their dedication to liturgical correctness (until they start equating their brand of liturgical purity with the sum total of the gospel).
But meanwhile the entire culture around us is awash in Christmas and we ignore that fact at the risk of once again seeming irrelevant in people’s lives.
Advent is not Christmas. And to celebrate Christmas properly we need a proper Advent. Advent is not Christmas, but neither is Advent Lent. It holds a two-fold character as a time of preparation for Christmas and a time of anticipation for Christ’s second coming, both events worth celebrating. Accordingly, The Roman Missal notes it is a period of “expectant delight.”
The season here at Nativity will offer plenty to delight in.
We’re offering a new message series we’re calling “Unwrapping Christmas.” It’s meant to meet people where they are these days, and walk with them to get the most out of the holidays. Along with our weekend message at Mass, we’ll also be offering new series in our student and kids programs, and a small group edition too.
Most years we try and offer a mission outreach and this year we have something really special. Nativity is planning a Missions weekend, December 9 & 10. Parishioners will have the opportunity to sponsor a child in our partner communities of Haiti and Kenya. Hundreds of children are in need of financial support to attend school and with a monthly gift throughout the coming year, sponsor children will receive the resources needed to help them meet their educational goals and more.
To commemorate sponsorship they’ll receive a beautiful and unique Christmas ornament made in-country by the children themselves. The Sponsorship Ornaments will make a one of a kind Christmas Gift. One-time donations can also be made.
Our annual “Christmas Shoppe” returns this season, with a new home in our new building. “Rebuilt” gift packages as well as Rebuilt and Nativity related gift items will be available throughout December.
And, of course, there will be Christmas Eve Masses. Many, many people have asked me if we will be celebrating in our new church this year. Well, let me put it this way: our new church seats 1500, if we use the balcony. Last year 10,000 people joined us between 4 and 6pm. So, obviously we will be going back to the Cow Palace. This year we’re improving parking and adding seats. At both our 4pm and 6pm we’ll have programs for the kids and we’ll offer a musical program before each Mass so come early.
Or better yet serve. There are so many opportunities in the days leading up to Christmas and on Christmas Eve itself. Check it out at churchnativity.com
Join us this Advent as we delight in the season.