Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Perhaps my favorite Advent quote (which I have undoubtedly shared with you before), comes from the pen of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A German Christian and martyr, Bonhoeffer was imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II. Writing from his prison cell on November 21, 1943, he said, “[A] prison cell like this is a good analogy for Advent; one waits, hopes, does this or that—ultimately negligible things—the door is locked and can only be opened from the outside.” As sinners living in a sinful world, we were closed off from God and helpless, like a prisoner in a cell, but out of his great mercy, the Father sent his Son, who broke into our world and set us free from our sin. As Bonhoeffer says, the door has been opened “from the outside.” Praise God that we have now been set free to love and serve our Savior.
This Sunday, our sermon text is Isaiah 9:1-7, a passage that speaks of the coming of the Messiah, who is the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Because of Jesus Christ, our peace with God and with one another has finally been restored (Isaiah 9:6). In preparation for taking the Lord’s Supper this Sunday, I urge you to take time beforehand to prayerfully prepare your hearts to share in this covenantal meal.
Services this Sunday: 8:30am (in-person) and 9:45am (in-person and livestream)
This Sunday we will hold two in-person services at 8:30am and 9:45am. The 9:45am service will be livestreamed.
If you will be worshipping from home for the 9:45am service, click this link: Livestream service.
If you have a Gmail account, please consider subscribing to our church’s YouTube channel.
Advent Bible Project
We have already had an excellent response to our Advent bible project. We are seeking to raise funds to purchase 100 bibles ($9.00 each) for the Cavaillon orphanage in Haiti. To participate, take an ornament from the Christmas tree in the lobby (if worshipping in-person). You may make your donation by (1) placing it in the offering plate, (2) making a payment through the church website, or (3) sending a check to the church (910 Main St. West Chicago, IL 60185). If you give through our website, please help us to keep track of donations by contacting Rosa Matos in the church office, notating your intention for your gift to go toward the Advent project (630-231-8230; email@example.com).
Christmas Eve Service: Please let us know your plans
On Thursday, December 24, we’ll celebrate the coming of Christ with a Christmas Eve service. In order for us to know whether we need to hold one in-person service or two, we ask that you please contact Rosa Matos in the church office this week to let us know if you plan to attend (630-231-8230; firstname.lastname@example.org). Service time(s) will be announced next week. We will also be offering the Christmas Eve service via livestream.
Send a Christmas Greeting!
Record a Christmas video greeting on your phone or computer (30 second-1 minute) and we will include it in a Christmas video collage to be shown during Advent! Please send your video to Tim Wierenga at email@example.com.
Outdoor Advent Prayer Gathering on Sunday, December 13 (5:00pm-6:00pm)
Join us on Sunday, December 13 (5:00-6:00pm) for a special time of prayer at the church. We will join together to pray for the children and staff who will be receiving the bibles from our Advent bible project. We’ll also spend time praying for the churches and orphanages of El Shaddai Ministries, and the upcoming mission trip to Haiti in July 2021. There will be snacks and hot chocolate available and firepits at each prayer station. We’ll also have an area inside the building for anyone who would like to pray indoors. In the event of bad weather, we will meet in the Mission Center.
Finally, as a reminder, if you should have a financial or material need, we encourage you to contact the elders (firstname.lastname@example.org). We have a fund for mercy relief to assist you during this time.
Grace and Peace,