Welcome to Advent at the Meeting House
The four weeks of Advent are always busy and full of activities – concerts, programs, family events, shopping and more. In the midst of all this, let us set aside time to prepare for and honor Christ’s coming into the world!
We hope you will pull out your calendar and consider joining us for a few of the activities planned at the Meeting House. Whether you are a member, a friend of the church or just passing through Alexandria, you are welcome!
Calendar of Events
“Advent” means “coming” — the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Christians around the world prepare on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas with special liturgy, hymns, and candle lighting. On this first Sunday in Advent, join us in preparing your hearts and homes for the coming Christmas season. We will learn more about the meaning of Advent, light the first Advent candle together, and share a special Advent blessing. We will provide greens, wreath forms, and candles for all, but if you have additional greens of all kinds to share, we invite you to bring them, along with clippers for easier assembly.
Sunday Adult Education, December 4, 11, 18 at 9:30 AM: The Mystery and Wonder of Advent.
There is something remarkable around the entire conception and subsequent birth of our Savior that is the mystery and the miracle. What would it be like to explore these Advent themes with mystery and wonder instead of what is normally done? In a world of uncertainty, join Moderator of National Capital Presbytery, Elder Shani McIlwain for a 3 week Advent series that looks deep within to find hope, peace, and joy for today!
Known for her candid personal stories, Shani E. McIlwain weaves her “messy” moments of life into practical teaching lessons for others. She is a sought-after speaker, pulpit supply preacher, retreat leader, Moderator-elect of National Capital Presbytery, and Ruling Elder at Faith Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in Washington, DC. She serves on the NEXT Church strategy team, works as a group facilitator and an executive coach, leading individuals and groups in faithful and transparent conversations about dismantling racism and white supremacy.
Shani is the 2018 Indie Author Legacy Awards™ Distinction of Excellence Honoree, a prolific global writer, and a five-time bestselling author. Her works include the inspirational devotionals Sharing My Mess: 90 Days of Prayer and Spiritual Intimacy with God and It’s Time To Make a Change: 30 Days to Renew Your Heart, Mind, and Soul, and the forthcoming self-help short read Awkward Silence: Practical Activities for White Ministry leaders confronting racism.
She is also the host of her own Facebook Live weekly web show, Sharing With Shani, which highlights ordinary people working for an extraordinary God–all while sharing love, light, and life with thousands of listeners across the country. Through humor, honesty, and compassion, Shani strives to teach women and men how to use daily practices to form a spiritual and intimate relationship with God.
Thursday Mornings, December 1, 8, 15 and 22 at 10:00 AM, Zoom
This Advent season, which marks the beginning of the new “church year,” the assigned “reading of the day” Sunday lectionary shifts to the gospel of Matthew. In our study of these readings, we will explore their advent themes, particularly the hopes of a people preparing for the coming of the Messiah, and how Matthew expresses them through the lens of his distinctly Hebrew heritage.
Please contact Priscilla, for the Zoom link.
The weeks leading up to Christmas can be hectic and full. The opportunity to pause and attend to Advent can get lost amid preparations for the big holiday, vacation plans or end-of-year work. This daily devotional invites readers to pause and reflect on narratives in the Christmas story. Each week, the devotions address a different theme: Week 1: Mary; Week 2: Joseph; Week 3: Herod; Week 4: the Christ child; Christmas Eve: Emmanuel. Daily readings will take us deeper into the scriptural story of the birth of Christ and explore contemporary subjects like parenting, power, war and violence, vulnerability, innocence and the many ways God’s incarnation can be experienced.
These inspiring devotions are available in the Narthex on Sunday mornings or in the church office through the week.
Join us on Wednesdays November 30 and December 7 and 14 at 12:05 PM for these short lunchtime programs. We will feature local musical groups and our own Meeting House Singers in festive holiday carols!
- November 30 – United States Air Force Brass
- December 7 – United States Army Chorus
- December 14 – Annandale Singers and Women’s Chamber Ensemble Patrick Vaughn, Director
The Alternative Giving Christmas Market, will be open from December 4 from 12:00 -2:00 PM in Fellowship Hall. Give gifts that make a difference!
All your favorite mission areas will be represented—and even a couple new ones. You’ll be able to peruse mission groups to find out more about each one and make a decision right there to make a donation in honor of someone.
After December 4 you will find our Market online. Payment will be easy and direct from the site, using your credit card. We’ll even include a link to gift acknowledgement cards that you can print out and give to your loved ones.
Give the gifts that make a difference!
Join Meeting House members and friends as we march in the 2022 Scottish Walk Christmas parade! Fittingly, marching in this year’s parade will cap off our year-long celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Meeting House, which launched with our participation in last year’s parade. The parade will be held on Saturday, December 3, beginning at 11:00 AM. Please sign up to participate. On the morning of the parade, please gather in the church courtyard by no later than 9:45 for hot chocolate and fellowship. We will leave from there for our designated place in the parade. Please be aware that vehicle access in the area around the parade route will be restricted (including the block with our church parking lot), so plan accordingly. And if you have a Scottish tartan, plan to wear it! For any questions or further information, contact Sandy Davis.
Join us for our Christmas Reading on Sunday, December 11 at 7:00 PM in the Sanctuary or online. We’ll share funny, serious and poetic readings to celebrate the challenge of the season. With texts by Christina Rossetti, E.B. White, Mike Royko, Mary McElveen, A.A. Milne and others read enthusiastically by Meeting House members and friends.
Taizé Service of Wholeness: This service will be held at 7:00 PM in the Sanctuary. It offers an opportunity to pause and reflect during this busy season, and is particularly mindful of the sorrows and challenges that are also present in our lives.
Taize services are simple, candlelit, participatory prayer services that consist of music, song and silence. The music is meditative, prayerful, chant-like, and repetitive, allowing the gathered group to enter into sung prayer that is both corporate and individually centering.
We invite all children, along with youth and adults, to participate in an outdoor retelling of the Christmas story called “Come to the Manger”. This is a no rehearsal, interactive experience for ALL ages on Sunday, December 18 at 3:30 PM in the churchyard. Participants are encouraged to come dressed as the character of their choice (Marys, Josephs, animals, angels, shepherds, innkeepers, magi, etc.). We will also have some costumes and props available the day of. Questions? Priscilla
Luminary Walk, 5:00-9:00 PM
Come as a family for a self-guided reflective walk in the beauty of the Meeting House’s luminary-lit churchyard. This is a great reminder that we are united through Christ’s light and can fill the darkness together.
Family Christmas Eve Worship, 4:30 PM, Childcare Available.
Caroling in front of the Meeting House, 7:00 PM
Christmas Candlelight Service, 7:30 PM, Childcare Available.
Join us at 11:00 AM for worship! No classes for children or adults. Everyone is welcome in worship.