We enjoy “keeping” the season of Advent here at St. John’s. It is a counter-cultural thing to do since Advent’s themes of repentance, reflection and preparation for Christ’s second coming, which fill our worship in the four weeks before Christmas, are in sharp contrast to the very noisy encouragement to shop and party, party and shop that we hear all around us. We’re not a curmudgeonly community, by any means. But it does seem that the louder the noise of the culture, the more hungry we are for quiet in which to consider the height, depth, and breadth of God’s love for creation. Keeping Advent helps us enter the Christmas season with a deeper sense of wonder and joy. Christmas Eve at St. John’s is filled with the sounds of strings, brass, bells, and choirs. There is an opportunity to worship with young children early in the evening, a Eucharistic liturgy mid-evening, and a late candlelight choral service that ushers us into the first minutes of Christmas Day. As a church in the heart of the city, St. John’s heartily welcomes the city to worship this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! But when the sounds of choirs and orchestra and bells have become only echoes, we do not lock the doors until Easter! No, we continue with “the work of Christmas” year ‘round – as reflected in a portion of Dr. Howard
Thurman’s poem by that name:
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone…
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry…
As the Christmas season comes to a close, we continue to take our turn in feeding the homeless at the Connection Café, serving the evening meal twice a month at Central Iowa Shelter and Services, supporting the ministry of DMARC, helping women and children in Tanzania to receive an education, and more. To serve our neighbor in love is the true work of Christmas, and it continues each and every day. Please know that you are welcome to celebrate and continue the work of Christmas with the St. John’s community.
Pray for peace.
Information provided by Pastor Rachel Thorson Mithelman, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 600 6th Ave., Des Moines, IA, 515-243-7691.