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ADVENT EVENTS & RESOURCES

Advent 2021

We have assembled a list of resources to help you observe a meaningful and holy Advent. You will find devotionals, online retreats and courses, class listings, and resources for family faith formation. We pray that these resources will be a blessing to you as continue to grow in your love of God and others in this sacred season.

If you have any questions about these or other faith formation opportunities, contact Warren Pattison.

Advent Events

Alternative Gift Market

November 28, 2021 8:30 am

By purchasing gifts that matter, you empower children with animals, seeds, tools, and other items they need to leave behind a life of extreme poverty. If you honor a friend or loved one with a gift, you will receive a bookmark to give them describing your life-changing gift.

Salvation Army Bell Ringers

November 29, 2021 10:00 am

The Red Kettle is a century-old Christmas symbol, helping shoppers remember the needy during the holiday season. You can help raise the necessary funds to help families in need at Christmas and throughout the year. Our church will be ringing the bell at the Grove Park Publix, 1617 US Highway 98 S. beginning Monday, November 29 at 10am and ring in two-hour shifts until 8pm each evening (with the exception of Sundays) until Christmas Eve.

Breakfast with Santa

December 4, 2021 9:00 am

Santa will be making a special visit to Lakeland before he heads out to deliver gifts this Christmas. Join us on December 4th, from 9-11am, for breakfast, games, and a photo with Santa.

Alternative Gift Market

December 5, 2021 8:30 am

By purchasing gifts that matter, you empower children with animals, seeds, tools, and other items they need to leave behind a life of extreme poverty. If you honor a friend or loved one with a gift, you will receive a bookmark to give them describing your life-changing gift.

Parents Night Out (Children’s Ministries)

December 10, 2021 5:30 pm

Need to get your shopping or wrapping done? Here is your opportunity.
Open to children 6 months – 5th Grade*

The cost will be $5.00 per child which will include dinner and some special gifts that will be made for loved ones during the event.

The Sights and Sounds of Christmas

December 12, 2021 4:00 pm

With the choirs of First United Methodist, Handbell Ringers & Singers, and a full orchestra, you won’t want to miss this concert of your Christmas favorites. Join us in the Sanctuary for one of two performances at 4pm & 7pm.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Christmas Party (Middle School)

December 19, 2021 5:00 pm

Let’s see your UGLIEST Christmas Sweater Middle Schoolers! We are having a Christmas Party for all of our 6th – 8th grade students in the Youth Building Sunday, December 19th from 5-7pm. We will be having Tijuana Flats for dinner, decorating Christmas cookies, a hot chocolate bar, and a $5-$10 gag gift exchange within small groups. This is the perfect opportunity to invite your friends! Everyone needs to RSVP by December 15th.

Christmas Progressive Dinner (High School)

December 19, 2021 5:00 pm

Dress in your Christmas BEST High School, we are going on a Christmas Progressive Dinner Party. On Sunday, December 19th our 9th – 12th grade students are going to be leaving at 5pm to head to our first home (Joyner’s) for appetizers, then to (Whitaker-Smith) home for dinner, and ending up at our last stop for dessert and gift exchange (Warren’s) home. Youth need to bring a $5-$10 White Elephant Gift to exchange and make sure their medical form is on file since we are taking the buses. This is the perfect opportunity to invite your friends. Everyone needs to RSVP by December 15th.

Family Christmas Live

December 22, 2021 5:00 pm

Every child has a role to play and a costume to wear at FAMILY CHRISTMAS LIVE. Children will get to choose which part they would like to play in the Christmas story and will be invited up to participate, on stage, at the appropriate time. Costumes are provided, or you can come dressed as your favorite Christmas story character. (Mary, Joseph, Angels, Wise Person, Barn Animals… etc) Come ready to participate as we sing, laugh, and celebrate the birth of our Savior through the eyes of our children.

 

Order Poinsettias

Christmas Poinsettias

It's time to order your Poinsettias to be used in the church during the coming Advent Season. If you’d like to honor or remember a loved one with a poinsettia, please fill out an order form by clicking the link below. Orders must be received by December 9 (cost is $12 per plant) You may take your poinsettia home with you after the 11:00pm Christmas Eve service.

Advent Resources

Creating Sacred Moments at Home for The Holidays with Rev. Traci Smith

As part of our Parenting Now series, Pastor and author Rev. Traci Smith offers some simple practices to make this season meaningful for you and your family. She shares some ideas for Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas as well as practices for year-round. Her book Faithful Families for Advent and Christmas is out now. It is a holiday companion to her excellent and very practical book Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home.

Advent Devotional

Our Advent sermon series is based on Mike Slaughter’s book Christmas Is Not Your Birthday. This year’s devotional writings and artwork from the children, youth, and adults of our congregation.

Advent Classes & Groups

Christmas is Not Your Birthday

We have several group study options for the book Christmas Is Not Your Birthday, which is the basis for our Advent sermon series. Every year, we say we’re going to cut back, simplify, and have a family Christmas that focuses on the real reason for the season―Jesus. But every year, advertisements beckon, the children plead, and it seems easier just to indulge our wants and whims. Overspending, overeating, materialism, and busyness rob us of our peace and joy and rob Jesus of his rightful role as the center of our celebration.

Wednesday Afternoons, 4:00pm
In Person in Room C-205 (with option to join online)

Genesis Sunday School Class
Sunday mornings, 9:30am
In Person in Room C-202 (with option to join online)

Koinonia Sunday School Class
Sunday mornings, 9:30am
In Person in Room C-205 (
with option to join online)

Sendero Sunday School Class
Sunday mornings, 9:30am
In Person in Room C-206 (
with option to join online)

The Heart That Grew Three Sizes

We don’t know why the Grinch hated Christmas. We just know he did. In this study, we’ll explore the faith themes in the Christmas classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! How did the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes come Christmas morning? How did Christmas save the Grinch? Could it be that the very thing we think we hate is the one thing that changes our lives? Join us as we look at a familiar classic through the lens of faith and see how Christ speaks to us through our culture.

Thursday evenings, 6:30pm
Online

Searchers Sunday School Class
Sunday mornings, 9:30am
In Person in Room C-206 (
with option to join online)

Illuminated 2021 Online Advent Retreat with Jan Richardson | November 28 – December 27

Registration is now open for the Illuminated 2021 Online Advent Retreat. Created and led by Rev. Jan Richardson, this online retreat is not about adding one more thing to your holiday schedule. It is about helping you find spaces for reflection that draw you deep into this season. In a chaotic time, the Illuminated retreat will offer a space of elegant simplicity. Intertwining reflection, art, music, and community, this four-week online retreat provides a distinctive opportunity to journey through Advent and Christmas in contemplation and conversation with others along the way.

This online retreat is not about adding one more thing to your holiday schedule. It is about helping you find spaces for reflection that draw you deep into a season that shimmers with mystery and possibility.

Cost is $90. More information and registration is available here. Some scholarship money is available through the Adult Ministries office. Contact Warren Pattison for more information.

Online Advent Courses

The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent eCourse Mondays, 7-8pm Eastern

We live in strange times. Our world is shifting and changing, and we are increasingly aware of our vulnerability and uncertainty. The season of Advent invites us to embrace the yet unknown—to pay attention to what we do not see with our eyes and what we do not understand. It’s a season that asks us to wait expectantly and hopefully, though we may not be at all certain just what we are waiting for.

Cost is $39. Some scholarship money is available through the Adult Ministries office. Contact Warren Pattison for more information.

The Living Nativity: Preparing for Christmas with Saint Francis (Self-paced online course)

Explore Advent with St. Francis and the Upper Room. Francis of Assisi, the well-known thirteenth-century saint, is credited with creating the first nativity scene. The Living Nativity introduces readers to Saint Francis and his joyous reenactment of the birth of Jesus, complete with a manger and animals. Here we will explore how nativity sets, Advent wreaths, candles, carols, Christmas cards, and other traditions help prepare our hearts for the God “who bends low to enter our world and our lives.” Prayer poems for each day of the season lead readers to deepen their spiritual journey, and the content provides a guided pattern for individuals and small groups to share reflections and experience activities that open their hearts to the Christ child.

Cost is $13. Some scholarship money is available through the Adult Ministries office. Contact Warren Pattison for more information.

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