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~ The Third Sunday of Advent ~
Valley News
December 15, 2018
"The people were waiting expectantly . . ."
~ Luke 3.15a
     Luke's brief description of the people of Israel in John's and Jesus' day summarizes the correct posture of God's people right down through the ages: "The people were waiting expectantly . . ." Very recently we heard Peter, in his first letter, speak of God's people in Christ as a people in exile. Though the King has come and the beginning of the end and the beginning of the new beginning have broken in upon us, we remain a people in exile; we expectantly wait for the King to come (again), preparing ourselves in heart and mind by the power of God's Spirit for his coming. This is precisely the posture the season of Advent encourages us to practice so that we might maintain this posture of expectant, hopeful waiting through the whole year. As we wait, I encourage you to read the words of expectation, hope, and joy from this week's Advent readings:
     This week's lessons are:
  • Zephaniah 3.14-20
  • Isaiah 12.2-6
  • Philippians 4.4-7
  • Luke 3.7-20
"All in Good Time"

     You will find Jennifer's reflections on the third Sunday of Advent and the third week of Advent (Dec. 16-22) below.

Third Sunday of Advent
~ Week of December 16-22 ~

     The candle we light this morning is a different color than the others: it’s pink, the liturgical color associated with joy. Joy rings triumphantly through our opening reading; we are told to “Sing! Raise the rafters! Be happy! Celebrate!” (from the prophet Zephaniah in The Message). In the midst of our Advent observations which might tend to be more somber and reflective, it’s good to be reminded that deep, abiding joy is one of the gifts that the incarnation of Christ brings to us and the whole of creation.
This week:

     Praying and Singing the O Antiphons (December 17-23): Since before the eighth century, Christians have been anticipating the celebration of the birth of Christ with what are known as the O Antiphons. If you’ve ever sung the popular Advent hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” then you’ve sung most, if not all, of these antiphons at some point. The antiphons, which are based on the many names for Jesus used in Scripture (Emmanuel, Key of David, Jesse’s Branch, etc.), are sung or prayed one per day from December 17th to December 23rd. It’s either a delightful coincidence or the result of elaborate planning that, when the Latin translations of the names of Jesus are arranged backward, their first letters spell out the Latin phrase ero cras which roughly translated means “I will come tomorrow.” Every day, from December 17th to the 23rd, consider singing or praying one verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” reflecting on what it means that Christ is “wisdom from on high” or “Lord of might”.

     A further note from Kurt: You can listen to the Orthodox composer Arvo Pärt's setting of the O Anitphons (in German)
here. You could consider listening to one and looking at the corresponding scripture passage each day. The schedule is:
  • December 17: O Weisheit (O Wisdom) ~ Isaiah 11:2-3
  • December 18: O Adonai (O Lord) ~ Isaiah 33:22
  • December 19: O Sproß aus Isais Wurzel (O Root of Jesse) ~ Micah 5:1
  • December 20: O Schlüssel Davids (O Key of David) ~ Isaiah 9:6
  • December 21: O Morgenstern (O Dayspring) ~ Isaiah 9:1
  • December 22: O König aller Völker (O King of the nations) ~ Isaiah 2:4
  • December 23:O Immanuel, O God is with us: Isaiah 7:14
Upcoming Events and Opportunities:
 
Broome County Jail Ministry Christmas Gifts:
     Valley Church is collecting gifts for the Broome County Jail Ministry Christmas project (a ministry that helps men and women in mail, those released from jail, and their families). You are especially encouraged to give: new or nearly new children's books, new stuffed animals, soft covered Bibles, small paperback puzzle books, tissue packs, and playing cards. There is a box in the foyer in which you can place your donations. Please bring in items by tomorrow (December 16).
 
KNO Live Nativity:
     This year, for a twist on our annual tradition, we will be combining Kids' Night Out and the Live Nativity. The children who come for KNO will have the opportunity to tell the story of Jesus' birth to their parents and friends in the Live Nativity. The KNO Live Nativity is tonight at 7:30 p.m.! The show will be followed by a reception with cookies and hot drinks upstairs.
     Even if you did not sign up to help, you are encouraged to come and lend a hand wherever you see a need for help. Also, please invite neighbors, friends, and extended family to come and celebrate the coming of our God with us!

 
Family Adopted for Christmas Gifts:
     Valley Church has "adopted" a family for Christmas this year. There are "wish list" sheets on the tables in the foyer to give you ideas of what to donate. The deacons would encourage you to bring gifts wrapped if possible. Also, please communicate with Beth Cunningham regarding what you donate and what needs still remain.
Faith Formation Opportunities:
     
     This Sunday (December 16) the teens will meet at 6:00 p.m. at the Stocums' house to continue their study, "Living Your Faith in a Messed Up World: a Look at the Contemporary Testimony."
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service:
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
     We will gather at 7:00 p.m. on December 24 for "A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols." We will behold "the development of the loving purposes of God . . . seen through the windows and words of the Bible" * and respond in reverent worship our God who became flesh and dwelt among us and lift our voices in his praise with joyful carols.

* from Eric Milner-White's description of the "A Festival of Lessons and Carols" (Mildner-White was dean of King's College Cambridge and designer of the first "Festival of Lessons and Carols" in 1918)
Resources and Opportunities from the CRC:

World Renew Gift Catalog:
Jesus is Abundant Life - Celebrate God’s power made visible in His son, Jesus Christ, who was born to bring us salvation. Give the powerful gift of Uzima, “fullness of life,” (Jn. 10:10) to someone experiencing poverty, hunger, and injustice this Christmas – a goat, a plow, or farm starter kit. Find these life-changing gifts at worldrenew.net/gifts or call 800-333-8300 to order.
 
     Tip - On this third Sunday in Advent, spend some time talking about the many ways God shows that he loves us, including sending his own Son. List as many ways as you can. Then talk about how your family can show that you love each other and how you can show love to your friends and neighbors. (Faith Formation Ministries; crcna.org/FaithFormation)
Valley Church

Gathered as God's family and sent into the world as agents of God's mission of renewal.

 
This Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent:
 
Worship Service at 10:00 a.m.

Children pre-K through 5th grade will go to Sunday School following our celebration of baptisms and welcome of new members.

Teen faith formation at 6:00 p.m. at the Stocums' house.
That we might better pray for one another and God's world:
 
     We continue to pray for healing and health for: Ann de Jager, Daryl Whitacre, Frank Lockwood, Peter DeYoung, Beth Blake, Amy Beardsley, Lily Beardsley, and Sarah Peterson.
     We pray for college students as they finish the semester and travel home for Christmas vacation, and we rejoice with Chuck Huizinga upon his graduation from basic training, praying for God's peace as he now looks ahead to his first semester of college and ROTC in January.

 
We pray for friends
and family of Valley members:
     we ask for guidance for Cody and Jessica Zuiderveen as they seek God's guidance for their future once their term as missionaries to Haiti ends later in 2019.
     We pray for: for God's peace for Luci Huizinga's brother Jerry who struggles with Parkinson's disease; for healing for Marcus' co-worker, Donna; for healing for the Monroes' nephew Joshua; for peace for Kurt Monroe's cousin, Kelly; for healing for the de Jager's grand-nephew Cole as he continues his treatments for cancer; for healing for Mike Flynn's mother, and for peace for her and the rest of her family; for continued recovery for Marcus Doller's mother; for healing and recovery for David Derzanovich's brother-in-law Tim; for Martheen Griffioen as she battles cancer; for healing for Jim and Becky Stocum's friend Eric who is battling brain cancer; for healing for Adam Derzanovich; for strength and healing for Alistair Krempel.
Sunday Morning Ministries
for December 16, 2018:

Greeter: Barb Lockwood

Ushers: Charlie Huizinga and George de Jager

Congregational Prayer: Kurt Monroe

Scripture Readers:
1st Lesson (Zephaniah 3.14-20): Lor Recker-Woodnorth
2nd Lesson (Philippians 4.4-7): Joel Huizinga
3rd Lesson (Luke 3.7-20): Terry Woodnorth

Nursery: Florence Doller
Church Telephone: 607.648.8224

Church email: valleychurchny@gmail.com

Church website: valleychurchny.org