Devotions for Christmas

Sunday, December 24Silent Night by Sufjan Stevens

This year, the fourth Sunday of Advent falls on Christmas Eve. We light the fourth candle on our wreaths, barely in time for the arrival of Christmas. As our Advent journey draws to a close, take some time to reflect on what space has been made inside of you to welcome Jesus. What songs have helped center your heart and mind? What has helped you be more aware of the needs of those around you — the Christ child in our midst today?

 

Monday, December 25

This Christmas Day, we welcome the coming of God into the world and celebrate with friends and family. During this busy time, take a moment for yourself. Light the four candles of the Advent wreath and sit in silence, letting your body and mind rest amid the busyness of the day. In our frantic “getting ready,” in our moments of calm, and in every time in between, Jesus is on his way — Immanuel, God-with-us. May this Advent and all our days to come be a time of preparation, making us ready for the arrival of Christ in our hearts, our lives, and in the needs of those around us. Amen.

Advent and Christmas Worship Schedule

All are welcome! Bring your family, friends, and guests to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Intergenerational Advent Wreath Making
Sunday, December 3, after worship, 11:15 AM-noon
Kids and adults gather together to make Advent wreaths — a traditional way of counting down to Christmas. 

Christmas Program
Sunday, December 17, 10 AM
Our Sunday School children will continue the beloved tradition of retelling the story of Jesus’ birth with singing and a lively sketch during the 10 AM Worship Service.

 

Stories & Songs of Christmas
Sunday, December 24, 10 AM
Start your Christmas Eve Day with us as we sing and read through the classic stories and hymns of Christmas!

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (with Communion)
Sunday, December 24, 4:30 PM
We gather together to hear the story of Christ’s birth.

 

How the Grinch Learned the Magnificat

There are hundreds of carols we sing every year,
filling the season when Christmas draws near.
These hymns are familiar and loved very dear,
And we sing loud and proud about midnights so clear.

But some songs get forgotten in the midst of the season,
Songs that have been with us long for a reason.
Songs someone carefully thought up and wrote out,
Songs that are all what the season’s about.

Today’s story is that — the song of sweet Mary,
Who faced some good news exciting and scary.
She was carrying Jesus, God’s very own Son,
And sang today’s story in a-dor-a-tion:

My soul is enraptured, uplifted, fulfilled,
For God has seen me and a purpose has willed.
Though I am quite humble, unimportant and small,
God has chosen me to bear the Savior of all.

But I should not be shocked that God chose a girl —
God’s made unusual choices since the start of the world.
You’d think God would choose big names, the mighty, the strong,
God should rain down power to fight and right wrongs.

But in all the stories I’ve ever been told,
God works in the outsider, the young or the old,
Those who we think are empty-handed and poor
Are the very ones God comes to and loves more and more.

God isn’t impressed by riches or appearance,
God looks at the heart and sees what is nearest.
If your thoughts are un-good or unkind or untrue
God will not let you hurt whoever you choose.

God isn’t excited about rulers and kings,
God knows earthly might is a dangerous thing.
God remembers the promises and seeks out the lost,
God is righting the world, no matter the cost.

All the Whos down in Whoville loved the Magnificat,
but the Grinch, still learning his lesson, did NOT.
“I’m confused,” the Grinch said, “At first it seems sweet
That God looks at the lowly and thinks that they’re neat.

“But Mary says God takes the strength from the strong,
And sends rich away empty, and — well, that seems wrong.
I thought God loved us all, exactly the same.
Choosing some over others sounds like a shame.”

“This isn’t a song we should sing in this season,
This song is confusing and feels without reason.
Life isn’t fair, and I do wish it would be
But now’s not the time to talk about should-be.

“We’ve got to get ready for family and feast!
For singing, and joy, and cooking roast beast!”
Cindy Lou Who, the little Who whom you may remember
Listened kindly to the Grinch’s grumps through December.

“I think,” Cindy said, after thinking a lot,
“There must be a reason for the Magnificat.
Christmas began with the birth of a child,
And while it sounds cute, the scene was quite wild!

“Rich men called magi, who studied the stars,
Packed up their camels and brought gifts from afar.
Expecting a new king to be born very soon,
They checked at the palace, as one ought to do.

“But he was born in a stable, filled with smelly old sheep!
His parents were homeless, had nowhere to sleep.
His dad was a carpenter — not very wealthy,
And I can’t imagine sleeping in hay is healthy.”

“But still,” the Grinch said, “I thought God was fair.
I thought God viewed each of us with just the same care.
If that’s so, why does God feed some and not others?
Shouldn’t we split it between all sisters and brothers?”

“I think,” Cindy said, after thinking a bit,
“That God’s idea isn’t unfair or unfit.
The rich Whos have money. They’re already eating.
But for those on the edges, there is no more seating.

“If God is ensuring the poor get some too,
God isn’t unfair — God’s thinking it through.
God’s evening out what is unfairly done,
Feeding the hungry and forgetting none.”

“This is called justice,” Cindy Lou Who reminded,
“Making things equal and right for all Whomankind.
Some Whos already have more than they need.
God’s concern is for those who are trampled by greed.

“Justice means when something goes wrong, God will right it.
And to that hard work of change we’re invited.
To fixing what’s broken. To righting old wrongs.
I think that is why we sing Mary’s great song.”

“But still,” the Grinch said, “it doesn’t seem fair
To take from one person to even the share.
If I earned it, I keep it. I can give it away
If I want to, but God taking it isn’t okay.

How can I buy gifts if God looks down on money?
Can we cook roast beast if God sends us off hungry?
Once I stole food, but brought it back to you.
Now when I make food, I buy it all new.

If I’m not the one causing any unfairness,
Why am I being charged with justice awareness?”
“I think,” Cindy said, after thinking quite quietly
“God worries how the mighty got so very might-i-ly.

“We’re all loved by God, but not all born the same.
Some Whos get a bonus in life’s complex game.
“I think justice,” said the wise little Cindy Lou Who,
“Is recognizing you’re not just a product of you.

“There are systems in place that we didn’t start,
And some without the tiniest shred of a heart.
The roast beast we eat — were they cared for and fed?
Who stitched the red Santa cap you wear on your head?

“Some Whos are quite wealthy because they make choices
That hurt others, and wealthy Whos silence hurt voices.
When God questions wealth, it’s because all too frequently
Wealth has been made from Whos who are hurt secretly.

“So I think,” Cindy said, after rubbing her chin,
“The challenge is for us to see the systems we’re in.
We have to ask questions. We have to keep checking.
If Whos do go hungry, it’s time for inspecting.”

“It’s hard to keep learning,” the Grinch grumpily said.
“This information feels like too much for my head.”
“That’s OK,” little Cindy Lou Who let him know.
“You don’t have to change everything by tomorrow.”

“The power of community helps us keep going.
We gather together to share questions and knowing.
By hearing our stories, we change and we grow,
And become a force for justice in the world that we know.”

“Hmm,” hmm’d the Grinch, his grinchy face wrinkling.
“This idea of community has got me thinking.”
He thought of how life had been pre-Cindy Lou.
How he grumbled, and grimaced, and hated the Whos.

He thought of how feeling left out made him feel —
Like he would never sit with a friend for a meal.
“I hated Who Christmas because I felt ignored.
I tried to ruin it and even the score.

“When you sang your Who songs, I was angry and rash.
I stole all of your presents, your gifts, all your stash.
I stole all of the food and the Christmas trees too.
I was so very angry, my dear Cindy Lou.

“But I realized the day when you all still sang songs
That Christmas is all about repairing wrongs.
I wanted to fix all I’d broken and wrecked,
Even if you despised me for the thoughts in my head.

“But you didn’t!” the Grinch grinned. “You invited me in.
You gave me a seat, said I was for-giv-en.
The injustice of me being left out was repaired.
You welcomed me even though I’d been unfair.”

The Grinch smiled. “Thank you, little Cindy Lou Who.
It’s hard to accept, but I know what to do.
I’m part of a problem that’s quite hard to see,
But you know what? I’m stronger than its secrecy.

“Justice is a word I want to keep hearing.
And knowing that fairness is a hope to keep nearing.
When I have been hurt, I want to declare it.
And when I am the hurter, I want to repair it.

“I want to help others. I want to learn lots.
And I want to sing Mary’s Magnificat.
God remembers the promises and seeks out the lost,
God is righting the world, no matter the cost.”

Queer Grace Community

As lesbian, gay, bisexual/pansexual, trans and gender nonconforming, intersex, asexual, and queer Christians, we seek to create a space where we can trust that we will be fully seen, known, and loved — by God and by others.

Our worship is a blend of evangelical and mainline traditions. We open with band-led music. We listen to Scripture and a witness from one of our LGBTQ+ leaders. After the sermon we have open time for prayer and meditation. We share in communion and then in fellowship over cookies and conversation.

All who affirm and celebrate the lives of queer and trans Christians are welcome to join us.

 

Upcoming Events

QGC Bible Study — Sunday March 18, 6:30pm
Mojo Coffee Gallery

QGC Resurrection Worship — Sunday March 25, 5pm
Grace Community Center for Life

Find us on Facebook.

 

Our Promises
We will be unequivocal in our belief that LGBTQ+ people are welcome into the body of Christ and the worship of the church just as we are.
We will want to know who you are. When you arrive, we’ll ask for your name and pronouns. Then, we’ll use them.
We will want to meet you where you are. For many LGBTQ+ people, walking through the doors of a church brings up a mix of emotions. So sometimes we’re not in a church. And when we are, if you need to cry, we’ll find tissues. If you need to take a break, we’ll make space. And if you want a hug, we are 100% ready to hug back.
We will want to hear your story. At our prayer stations, we will try to give you space for reflection and engagement. At fellowship, we’ll ask questions and tell our own stories.
We will celebrate a wide range of Christian faith. Our worship draws from Scripture, from history, from tradition, from experience. We bring in new speakers to offer new ways of re-connecting with God. We sing songs both old and new, some with traditional language for God, others with contemporary metaphors. We draw from both mainline and evangelical worship styles.
Our communion table is open to everyone. We believe when Jesus said “Take and eat,” he offered it to everyone — no exceptions.
Our leadership will reflect our community. Our leadership team are all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
We will probably make mistakes. This is just a fact of being human. We ask you to tell us where we fell short, and offer ideas for how we can improve.
We will never stop proclaiming that the good news of Jesus is for all people.

Advent Devotions, Week Three

Sunday, December 17 Hark the Herald Angels Sing from A Charlie Brown Christmas

Sometimes the most beautiful song comes from the mouths of children. They don’t always remember the words perfectly; they don’t always sing exactly on key. What matters to them is that they are doing something they enjoy, and that we celebrate with them in whatever they can offer. The Christmas story in particular puts children at the center: a teenage mother, shepherds young enough to sleep in the fields, angels of all kinds come to sing praises, and of course, a child born in a manger. Join us for worship at 10am for our annual youth Christmas program on this third Sunday of Advent, and light your third candle today!

 

Monday, December 18Do You Hear What I Hear? by Whitney Houston

The good news of Christ’s birth is passed on in many ways. Some of us learned it from storybooks as children; some of us came to understand its meaning and power as adults. It can be told in plays, musicals, poetry, and prose, but no matter how it comes to us, it is always a moment of one person saying to another: I have something to share with you. Who do you call when you have good news to share?

 

Tuesday, December 19He Made a Way in a Manger by Vicky Beeching

Christmas is not the end of God’s amazing work among us. Jesus’ teaching, death, and resurrection make the story complete. God was willing to become flesh, knowing that it would lead to death on the cross, and trusting in the promise of resurrection. In Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, God declares there is no where that humanity can be, no depth that we can find, that God cannot meet us in. God is always seeking a way to be with us, even today.

 

Wednesday, December 20The Christmas Song by the Dave Matthews Band

Christmas is not the end of the impossibilities that are possible with God. As an adult, Jesus took drinkers, fishermen, tax collectors, and women of ill repute as followers and disciples. On the night of his betrayal he offered bread and wine to his friends promising that it would be a sign that his body was given for them. God took on flesh and, when faced with violence and hate, accepted the wounds of the world and died. But perhaps the greatest miracle of all is that God, source and ground of Love, came into a world that responded to that love with hate — and responded, and responds still, with even more love.

 

Thursday, December 21I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Burl Ives

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” first appeared in publication in 1865, written by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Facing a Christmas without his recently deceased wife and his son who had enlisted in the Civil War, Longfellow surely didn’t feel much like celebrating. It felt like the world was being torn apart at the seams; how could the bells of Christmas keep ringing? Yet the poet imagined he heard the bells repeating the angels’ song: “Peace on earth, goodwill to men!” What will give you hope today?

 

Friday, December 22Open Up by The Brilliance

In this song we hear the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, who wrote the prayer “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” The work of Christmas isn’t just God’s work. God invites us into the work too: offering hope where there is pain, light where there is darkness, love where there is hate. God comes to us not to keep us in reverence at the manger but to send us out to those who are in need. What do you have today that can help a hurting world?

 

Saturday, December 23God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen by Nat King Cole

This is one of the oldest still-sung Christmas carols, dating back to the sixteenth century; it is quoted in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Although it may sound like the song is asking for God to give merry gentlemen some rest, “God rest ye merry” is an old-timey way of saying “may God keep you merry.” What is making you merry and joyful? What is your favorite part of the Christmas season, and how can you find just a little more of it today?