“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” – Isaiah 9:2

Our Advent Worship Series

The theme of Advent is waiting . . . in hope . . . for God to move. 2000 years ago, Israel was living in dark times and waiting and praying for God to move. For 500 years, the people of Israel found themselves in a season when God seemed far away – no prophets speaking truth, occupied by Rome, oppressed with no sign of God’s rescue. “O God, where are you?” was the lament.

Then . . . a flurry of activity. After 500 years of silence, in the space of a year, angels, God’s messengers, show up to announce God was on the move. Their message invariably started with “Do not be afraid.” The angels brought messages to Zacharias, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. “Fear not and listen up.”

Could those words be any more relevant for us in this season of unknowns, when hate seems to be winning and God seems far away? When God’s people are divided with no clear prophetic voice to guide us, with wolves in sheep’s clothing offering half-truth interpretations of God’s word? Fear not.

In this season of Advent, we will explore these four angelic messages given to people just like us – facing times of darkness and unknowing. The message then is the message now – “fear not . . . God is on the move.” Let this hope bloom into joy and love and peace that will carry you through Advent into a new year. God is with us. 

Our series is called “The Fear Nots of Christmas – Finding Hope, Joy, Love and Peace this Advent,” based loosely on a book by that same name written by Debbie Short. Our messages are:

Nov 29 – Zechariah’s Hope

Dec 6 – Joseph’s Love

Dec 13 – Mary’s Joy

Dec 20 – Shepherds’ Peace

Other Advent Activities

Advent Family Devotional Download

We are excited to offer An Illustrated Advent for Families: Do Not Be Afraid as a download for our church families. An Illustrated Advent is an opportunity for families to take time each week during the Advent season to be intentional and focus on their faith. These weekly reflections explore our theme, “Do Not Be Afraid,” which is found in Jesus’ birth story in the Gospel of Luke. The free download includes five family devotions, paper crafts, and an advent calendar.

Advent Zoom Fellowship

On every Sunday evening in Advent, starting with November 29 at 6:00 pm, we will be hosting an at-home Advent gathering via Zoom centered around fellowship and the Advent wreath. You can join the meeting on November 29 by clicking the link belowIn preparation, please gather your Advent wreath and candles. 

Advent Bible Study

The adult class facilitated by Mike Gorman will be doing a four-week Zoom study called “Singing and Studying the Scriptures of the Season” starting Sunday, November 29. Join us for song, sharing prayer, and study from 11 am to 12:15. Contact Mike for the Zoom link: mgorman@stmarys.edu.

Giving Tree Mission

This year the Christmas Giving Tree will be different. The need is greater than ever with so many people out of work. CUMC plans to provide gifts and food for Christmas dinner for 20 families and 9 seniors in Anne Arundel County. The gift ideas are posted on SignUp Genius for you to ‘sign up’ to provide specific gifts by December 18. If you would rather donate money, you can send a check to CUMC with ‘Giving Tree’ in the memo and we can do the shopping for you. To donate online visit cumc.net/give and choose the “Christmas Giving Tree” option. We will deliver the gifts and food on Sunday, December 20 between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. If you can help out with the “contactless” delivery or have any questions, please contact Dianne Dezio at 410-451-2628 or dcdezio@gmail.com.

Winter Care Kit Collection

In December, our Kids in Action group of 1st through 5th graders will be assembling Winter Care Kits to be handed out to homeless persons in Baltimore.  We need YOUR help!  If you are able, please donate brand new items (see list on Realm) by Wednesday, December 9. New or gently used winter coats will also be accepted. Items may be dropped off at bins in the driveways of Carol Streeter, Michell Cardwell, or Kate Falls. For addresses, and any questions, please contact Michelle at michelle4kidz@gmail.com.

Journey to Bethlehem Live Nativity

 Journey to Bethlehem is a drive-through, outside only event will take place during the first two weekends in December at Glen Mar United Methodist Church (4701 New Cut Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21043). You will meet Mary, Joseph, shepherds and angels and see live animals as you drive through the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. This theatrical experience will give you a sense of the true joy and wonder of Christmas. Visit Glen Mar’s website to find the list of dates and times, and pre-register (required).

CDC Visit with Santa

Come gather together for some holiday cheer, Hot Chocolate, and a special visit from Santa Claus! This event will be Wednesday, December 9 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm (with a raindate of Friday, December 11) at the church. This is an outdoor activity. Social distancing and masks are required.  Contact the CDC with any questions.