A TREK TO ADVENT: A JOURNEY INWARD, TOGETHER AND OUTWARD
The ancient season of Advent marks the four Sundays and subsequent days preceding the birth of Jesus on Christmas. It invites daily preparation of Christ being born afresh in our inner lives, actions, and relationships.
We have designed a guided journey inward, together and outward to deepen the meaning of this Advent season and remember the true invitation that Christmas invites.
Each day we will focus on a word and image with a brief prayer and SERVE invitation that invites us to "welcome the coming of Christ" in our daily lives to transform us from the inside out.
A TREK TO ADVENT will include the blessing of sharing a Christmas gift with our neighbors in Loudoun and DC through Advent SERVE and a weekly Advent Wreath Sunday Candlelight Reading on Sundays at home.
We will also pray and invite participation in Advent SERVE. This is an opportunity to share gifts with Jesus who invited us to welcome Him in the faces of the hungry, the naked, the stranger and the prisoner (Matthew 25:35-38).
School Break Bundles - Payne Elementary in DC
As an ongoing mission at Crossroads, a group of tutors travel each week to Payne Elementary, in Southeast, DC to assist in the 5th grade classroom. Most, if not all, of the children who attend this school receive free or reduced lunch with a number of students living in a homeless shelter nearby. Many of the children at Payne rely on both breakfast and lunch, provided by the school, as their main food source. This puts many of the students at risk of going without food on the weekends and especially during longer breaks away from school, such as Christmas Break. “School Break Bundles” will help provide them with non-perishable food items to help bridge the gap between breaks. To get involved in this mission go to https://www.crossroadsnova.org/school-break-bundles.
Bells & Lights Advent Mission Loudoun
You can help needy families in Loudoun County have a wonderful Holiday! Friendship Bridge and the Sterling Rotary are looking for those interested in sponsoring a family this Christmas. Stop by the Fellowship Hall after worship during advent and pick a bell from the tree. It will list the family’s specific wants or ones asking for donations of Target or Walmart gift cards. These gifts or cards, along with care packages, will be given to families in Loudoun County who are in need of extra help during the holiday season. Please contact Kathy MacKrell or click here for more information.
DC Food & Fellowship
The Crossroads community prepares and serves a bagged lunch to the homeless community in Franklin Park, Washington DC, on the first and third Sunday of each month. You can help serve by preparing sandwiches, donating food items or traveling downtown. To get involved in this mission go to https://www.crossroadsnova.org/dc_food_and_fellowship.
Worship and Dinner Celebration with Leesburg Day Laborers
The Ashburn Korean United Methodist Church will be hosting a Christmas dinner and worship service at Crossroads on Sunday, December 23rd. This dinner is in honor of the Day Laborers that gather each day in Leesburg. The Ashburn Korean UMC has a special relationship with these folks and Crossroads has been asked to assist them with this dinner and we are honored to participate. Those interested can make food items, purchase gloves and hats or help serve our honored guests! Contact Kathy MacKrell if you are interested on taking part in this wonderful mission.
Advent Wreath Sunday Candle Lighting Reading
To celebrate the four Sundays of Advent we will have a brief candle lighting experience and reading for you and friends or family to celebrate at home on each of the four Sundays.
Here are some ideas on how to make a simple Advent Wreath or centerpiece at home. You can use a small wreath you already have and put four white votives in a circle within the wreath with a taller white candle in the middle. You can also adapt and use a bowl or tray to create something like this video suggests https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI9cKUiZFxc The color of the candles does not matter as long as the center candle is taller representing the birth of Jesus.
You light one candle the first week and then add another candle each Sunday until all four are lit on Sunday, December 23rd. You light the taller white candle in the middle (the Christ candle) on Christmas day.
Crossroads Advent Candle Reading Week 1 - 12/2/18
Reader 1: “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. These words from the Book of Isaiah Chapter 9 Verse 6 refer to Jesus as the Prince of peace.
Reader 2: Today we light the first candle of our Advent wreath, the candle of Peace. May the light of this candle be a reminder to us every day that to follow in the way of Jesus means to live in peace with all people to the best of our ability. (Reader 2 Lights the candle.)
Reader 1: That means that we must be intentional about practicing peace every day, in every situation. May the prayer that guides our words and our actions in the coming week be “God, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."
Crossroads Advent Candle Reading Week 2 - 12/9/18
Reader 1: Today we light the second Advent candle. This candle represents Wonder. Just as the shepherds in the Nativity story had an experience that filled them with wonder, we too can cultivate the gifts of awe and wonder in our lives.
Light the candle.
Reader 2: Jesus said that we must become like little children to fully experience the kingdom of God. Children have a natural sense of wonder and curiosity about the world. May this candle remind us to cultivate the sense of childlike wonder that lives inside each of us waiting to find delight in the experiences of our lives.
Crossroads Advent Candle Reading Week 3 - 12/16/18
Reader 1: Today we light the third candle of our Advent Wreath. This candle represents the word LOVE. We take our inspiration from the third verse of the beloved Christmas Carol Silent Night.
Silent Night, Holy Night Son of God, Love’s pure light. Radiant beams from Thy holy face. With the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus, Lord at Thy birth. Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Light the candle.
Reader 2: Just as the light from this candle shines out into this room, the light of God’s love shines out of every person. May we recognize the light of God’s love in the welcoming heart of a trusted friend, a family member, and even in the stranger we meet.
Reader 1: Jesus said that we are the light of the world, just as he was the light of the world. May we truly be that light for each other during this season and all throughout the year.
Crossroads Advent Week 4, 2018 Reading - 12/23/18
Reader 1: Today we light the fourth candle on our Advent Wreath. This candle represents grace. It is the marvelous, unexplainable, and ever-present gift we receive from God every day of our lives.
(Pause and light the fourth candle.)
Reader 2: The offering of grace is always a choice. Life presents us with many opportunities to judge, condemn and take offense at many people and situations. How we respond is always our choice.
Reader 1: May our prayer for the New Year be that each of us choose grace as our first response. It will always lead us to greater peace in our lives and in our hearts.