Getting Ready for December
Dear friends in Jesus Christ!
I pray that your Thanksgiving was a blessed one, filled with family, friends, and thankful hearts. As we prepare to enter the month of December, and as Christmas music blares in the background, I wanted to take a moment to let you know of a few important events happening at St. Matthew’s in the coming weeks that you and your family can take part in as we celebrate the season!
From Creation to Incarnation, December 3rd @ 9:30 AM
Our annual ‘Festival of Lessons and Carols’ worship service, where our friends from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Closter join with the members of our choir to lead our musical worship, will take place this coming Sunday. Warren Born, our Minister of Music, and Joan Holsten, the choir leader from St. Paul’s, have prepared a magnificent musical worship service for us! Also, we are pleased to have Debbie Provencher, the Executive Director of Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center, as our guest speaker. She is going to talk to us about their wonderful ministry that helps moms, babies, and families, but most importantly how we can partner with them. Please consider joining us this Sunday - and please bring along a package of diapers as a donation to the Lighthouse! After worship, we are going to kick off December with the return of Friendship Fellowship Hour with dessert, coffee, and tea (and hot chocolate, too!).
2017 Cookie Exchange, December 17th
Calling all bakers (and those who try hard)! We’re bringing back our congregational Cookie Exchange this year on Sunday, December 17th. All you need to do is bring three dozen of your favorite homemade cookies. We’ll have tins that you can use so you can pick and choose to take cookies home with you. To sign up to bake, call me on my mobile number, and I will put you on the list! Someone suggested that I bake some vegan cookie for the exchange; so, I’ll take out my cookie sheets (I think I have a couple) and whip up something fun!
Wednesday Advent Worship, December 6, 13, & 20th @ 7:00 PM
Every Wednesday leading up to our celebration of the birth of Jesus we’ll meet at St. Matthew’s to take a breather from this hectic time. We will spend time in worship and prayer to set our hearts on the importance of the incarnation of Jesus Christ for us. Please come by, and if you don’t drive at night, we’ll get you a ride!
Christmas Eve, December 24th @ 9:30 AM & 7:00 PM
This year, Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, giving us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the morning and the evening. We'll sing your Christmas favorites and worship our Lord with all gladness!
Christmas Day Worship, December 25th @ 9:30 AM
After tearing off the wrapping paper and figuring out how to put the toys together, please join us on Christmas Day as we celebrate the coming of Jesus!
New Year’s Eve, December 31st @ 9:30 AM
New Year’s Eve, just like Christmas Eve, falls on a Sunday this year. This year, we going to take the time to reflect on 2017 and look forward to an exciting 2018! Join us for our regular Sunday morning worship service at 9:30 AM to give thanks to God for 2017!
As 2017 quickly fades into the past, we have an opportunity to look forward to the coming year. Our evangelism ministry at St. Matthew’s - our Vision Team - has made a challenge to every member of our congregation: In this year when we truly celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, we want to touch the lives of 500 individuals with the message of hope in Jesus Christ. All of us get that opportunity each day to show what it means to be a member of the family of Christ in what we do and what we say.
The challenge is simple - live your faith. Tell the message of hope that is Jesus, a hope that comes by faith in Him. And let your faith shine! You can be a prayer warrior by telling a struggling family member, friend, a co-worker, or just someone you meet that the members of your church community will be praying for them. You can be a ministry leader for young people who are directionless in this crazy world of ours. You can open your home for a bible study with your friends and family. You can use your voice to lead a singing group at church or your musical talent to expand our music ministry. Those and thousands of other opportunities are right there before us to bring Jesus to our community!
Together, we can shine the beacon of hope that is Christ our Lord!
And if you want to support this ministry challenge financially, please consider making a special donation to St. Matthew’s this Christmas time to help provide a vital cornerstone for this fantastic revitalization effort.
Thank you for reading - and please, go to our church website at www.smelcnewmilford.org at any time to get updates! At our website, you can sign up for our weekly email newsletter letting you know everything that’s happening at your church. I look forward to seeing you this December and wishing you a Merry Christmas in person! God go with you!
Pastor Anthony J. Iovine