December 1, 2023
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope you are well. The Advent season is upon us, and our time of preparation for the celebration of the coming of Christ is at hand. The Chrismon trees are in the sanctuary and narthex, and the Altar Guild has placed the Advent wreath in the chancel. We are ready for the season! Our theme for this year is “Light Shines in the Darkness.” You recognize those words from the prologue to the Gospel according to St. John:
“Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
Maybe you are familiar with the darkness – sitting all night in a hospital room with a loved one, waiting by the phone into the wee hours hoping for a call with news, or tossing and turning in bed as you wrestle with news that has shaken your world. It is in the dark of night that we entertain our worst fears. Then the morning comes. That’s what the Gospel writer wants us to remember. In the midst of the darkness, our Lord comes like the morning to bring light. No matter how deep the darkness might be, it cannot overcome the light of Christ. That is what we remember in this season.
Let me suggest several ways to get the most out of Advent:
- Worship with your friends at Peachtree Road UMC every Sunday. The first Sunday is about hope. Just as the world in Jesus’ day longed for the light in a dark world, we also wait for his light to come upon us. We will light the first candle on our Advent Wreath, sing three of our favorite hymns in this season (Angels from the Realms of Glory, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, and I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light), and hear a beautiful anthem offered by the Chancel Choir (What Sweeter Music by Robert Herrick and arranged by John Rutter). I look forward to worshiping with you Sunday morning as we consider what it means to wait. Please join us for one of our services at 8:45 am, 10:00 am, 11:15 am or online through the church website.
- Study the scriptures and reflect upon their meaning for your life by using the Advent Devotionals provided by our church. You can have these emailed to you each day by subscribing through our website.
- Serve others by participating in one of our outreach opportunities in this season. Christmas Kindness is set to begin today, and I hope you will find an avenue to bless the lives of others through the sharing of your time. Please take note of some of the opportunities here.
- Give to support the ministry of the church in this season. You have been most generous this year, and, entering the last month of the year, we remain on track to meet our 2023 operating budget. Please help us finish the year strong. Also, take note that our Christmas Eve Offering once again will go to provide water filters in Kenya. If you have questions regarding making a contribution to Peachtree Road UMC, please contact Roger Laney in the business office: (404) 266-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Share the joy of this season with others by inviting folks you know to one or more of our special services. This is one of the best times of the year to help others discover Christ and grow in their faith:
- Great Tree Lighting – Sunday, December 3, at 5:30 pm in the sanctuary. The children’s choirs will help us begin the season with a festive service that is a wonderful way to start Advent with your church family.
- Christmas with the Georgia Boy Choir – Friday, December 8, and Saturday, December 9, at 7:00 pm in the sanctuary. Come hear all five levels of the Georgia Boy Choir, our ensemble-in-residence, as they perform sacred classics, traditional Christmas carols, and all your holiday favorites. You may purchase your tickets here.
- Carols by Candlelight – Sunday, December 10, at 5:30 pm in the sanctuary. You are invited to join us as the Carols by Candlelight Choir and Doxology Chorale lead us in a service of lessons and very familiar carols. The service closes with the lighting of candles as a symbol of our hope that “light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.”
- Many Moods of Christmas – Sunday, December 17, at 7:30 pm in the sanctuary. Tickets for this classic Christmas concert are complimentary but may run out, so reserve your seat today – online here, at the Dogwood Shop, or in the church office.
Finally, I want to invite you to join me next year on a Wesley Heritage tour of England as we explore the roots of Methodism. Here are some of the places we will visit: Epworth where the Wesleys were baptized and grew up; Christ Church College at Oxford University where John and Charles Wesley were educated and ordained and where the “Holy Club” which led to the birth of Methodism was founded; Bristol and “The New Room” where John Wesley preached about the unconditional grace of God to thousands and taught class leaders how to lead their small groups; and London where the home of John Wesley is located. In addition, we will visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare in Stratford-on-Avon, spend a relaxing afternoon in Jane Austin’s village of Bath, and maybe enjoy tea at Buckingham Palace. Does this sound like something you would like to do? Then sign up to join us next October 22-31, 2024, and learn more about your spiritual roots as a Methodist. To download a brochure, please click on this link or contact Jamie Jenkins (email@example.com.)
Thank you for your faith, hope, and love. I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we begin preparing anew for the coming of Christ.
Grace and peace,