In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself.
You hold your breath to listen.
You walk up the steps to the front door.
The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing.
For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for.
You are aware of the beating of your heart . . . The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens.
“Advent” is the name of that moment.
— Frederick Buechner, “Whistling in the Dark”
Christmas — and all the days leading up to it — and silence?
Pairing these two things is not the reality for most people. We make our plans well in advance in attempt to stave off the holiday panic and anxiety we anticipate; most often, silence is the last thing we associate with this season.
Yet, Buechner’s words resonate with something deep in our being. We know there is something awesome to be embraced. We strain our souls in the midst of our busy-ness, longing to hear that faint calling to, “be still, and know” God.
Advent is the preparation for the glorious news that God comes to us — to the world — in the flesh. God truly is with us. On that “silent night,” with its angel proclamations, peasant adoration, and humble beginnings, Emmanuel (meaning “God with us”) is born into this world to usher in a new way of seeing and being that encompasses hope and love and joy and peace. Advent invites us to hold our breath and listen into the silence; to inhale and catch a whiff of some fragrance that enlivens both memory and hope. Advent calls us into to something quite extraordinary.
This year, it just so happens that Christmas Eve is the 200th anniversary of the debut of the beloved carol, “Silent Night.” In observance of this special occasion, FUMCFW will be using the lyrics to this beautiful carol as the basis of our theme throughout the Advent season. As this worship series celebrates the “Silent Night” message during the season of Advent, we invite you to listen for its call as a guide for your life — all year long.
Especially on Christmas Eve, when something powerful and mystical occurs as we light our candles together and sing the hope of, “all is calm, all is bright,” we celebrate not only this beautiful timeless hymn, but also this message of peace and light for our world.
Rev. Linda McDermott
Associate Pastor of Worship
On Sunday, December 2, we will center on PEACE, looking through the lens of those who gathered in the first nativity, and this service will include a live nativity in our Sanctuary.
On Sunday, December 9, we will see HOPE through the eyes of the shepherds when angels filled the skies with singing of glorious news. Join us as Choral Union and instrumentalists fill our beautiful Sanctuary with glorious music for all to hear.
On Sunday, December 16, we will embrace LOVE as we celebrate the Son of God, “love’s pure light,” with favorite Christmas carols and special music from Adoramus Chamber Choir.
And on Sunday, December 23, we will experience JOY as we join with the angels to singing “alleluias to our King!”
On Christmas Eve on Monday, December 24, we will continue our special tradition of candle lighting, celebrating and symbolizing our carrying of peace and light for the world.
We will celebrate our Christmas Sunday worship on December 30 with one service at 11:00 am in the Sanctuary, singing carols and rejoicing in all this season brings to us and to our world.