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Time for worship this season

As we read through Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, our Advent devotional this year, we are reminded to slow down and reflect to prepare our hearts for Christmas. Here are some of the ways you can focus on Christ this Advent and Christmas:

  • Unwrapping the Names of Jesus Advent Devotions
    Now through Dec. 24
    This book is available in the Narthex – please take one for your family! And follow along with us on Facebook as we have daily prompts and ideas.
  • Lessons & Carols
    Dec. 10 | 8:00 am & 10:15 am
    Dec. 13 | 6:30 pm (shortened version)
    This joyous service of spoken word and music will tell the Christmas story from the prophesy of the ancient prophets to the celebration at Jesus birth. More…
  • Grief Support Gathering
    Dec. 14 | 11:00 am
    Anyone who has lost a loved one is invited to celebrate your memories at a dinner and program on Thursday, December 14 at 11 am in the Fellowship Hall. A grief support counselor from Season’s Hospice will be our guest speaker. Bring a dish to share as you are able. Please RSVP by December 10 to the office (507-634-7110). Come to receive comfort and peace.
  • Children’s Christmas Program
    Dec. 17 | 10:15 am
  • Senior Community Worship
    Dec. 21 | 2:00 pm
    Senior Christmas Worship will be held December 21 at 2:00 pm. Refreshments will be served in the Fellowship Hall following the service. All are welcome.
  • 4th Sunday in Advent
    Dec. 24 | 9:00 am
    Christmas Eve happens to fall on the 4th Sunday of Advent. We will still worship Sunday morning, but at one service at 9:00 am instead of our regular 8:00 and 10:15 am times.
  • Christmas Eve
    Dec. 24 | 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 7:30 pm
  • Christmas Day
    Dec. 25 | 9:00 am

Advent & Christmas Special Events

  • Lessons & Carols
    Dec. 10 | 8:00 am & 10:15 am
  • Grief Support Gathering
    Dec. 14 | 11:00 am
  • Children’s Christmas Program
    Dec. 17 | 10:15 am
  • Senior Community Worship
    Dec. 21 | 2:00 pm
  • 4th Sunday in Advent
    Dec. 24 | 9:00 am
  • Christmas Eve
    Dec. 24 | 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 7:30 pm
  • Christmas Day
    Dec. 25 | 9:00 am

Find a full schedule of events at stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Notes:

  • Dec. 27 – NO worship
  • Jan. 31- worship at 9:00 am

Well Trained & Alert

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

For twenty-three years, beginning in 1990, I served as a chaplain in the Montana Air National Guard. The first two years of service were during the “Cold War.” The perceived threat, in those days, was that the Warsaw Pact countries, led by the Soviet Union, would attack one or more NATO countries, allied with the US. World War III would presumably start with a swift Warsaw Pact invasion of West Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Belgium, to deny a landing point for NATO allies. This conventional warfare was expected to be short lived, for neither side wanted to be the last to deploy the inevitable nuclear weapons.

As a squadron of fighter jets, our basic mission was to “Survive, Fight, Win.” Surviving a direct nuclear strike, for obvious reasons never came up in our training. We, who were, “non-essential,” to the fight spent the better part of most exercises sheltering against radioactive fallout. We sat, and sat — reading books, watching movies, and struggling to imagine that anything like this could ever happen. Such a war could scarcely be imagined. With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Cold War was declared to be over, and talk was of a “peace dividend.” How would we spend all of the money we would save, by not preparing for war? Now we had only to worry about “rogue nations,” and terrorist groups. In 1993 there was an unsuccessful attempt to bring down the World Trade Center with a truck bomb. We felt relieved at the relatively few casualties, and the minor damage done to the building, but we were warned to be alert.

Then came September 11, 2001, as another “day that will live in infamy.” Now, we lined up the troops for a no-kidding war. It was my job to brief the troops and their families on the cultural and religious differences between the US and the Middle East, and praying for their safe return. I remember thinking, with a lump in my throat, as families were divided in tearful goodbyes, “So this is what we have been training for all of these years. I pray we have trained them well.”

The key words for Advent season, will be, “Stay Awake, Watch, and Pray”…”So that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:7). “Therefore, keep awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly, and what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake” (Mark 13:35-37).

Have a blessed Advent season and a merry Christmas.

We are not alone

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

I remember one Advent when I was around 13 years old, I heard the song “Breath of Heaven” for the first time. The song is the story of Jesus’ mother, Mary. It is a plea for God to be with her as she nears the birth of her child and she is frightened by all that the future holds. I remember thinking the burden she felt must have been enormous. The line that has always struck me hardest is, “Must I walk this path alone?” I have heard this sentiment from many people and have even heard it swirling around my own mind more often than I would like. Fear and doubt can take us over. So many people around us just don’t seem to get it. Must I walk this path alone? Inevitably , when I have these thoughts God finds a way to break into my life. He sends people to be with me during life’s burdens.

Advent is a season of waiting. Waiting in anticipation for the birth of the Savior. In life, whether we are waiting for a joyous event, like the birth of a baby, or waiting for something difficult, like treatment for an illness, waiting is the hardest part. Burdens get heavier in the waiting, if we let them. As we travel through this time of Advent I would encourage you to look around and see if you can pinpoint the people who are walking with you on the path. Is there someone you hadn’t noticed before? Where is God showing up? Is it a family member? Maybe, you are showing up as God’s hands and feet to someone else. In a world where, at least lately for me, the burdens seem so heavy and it feels that I am alone, a change of perspective is needed. At Jesus’ birth the words of the prophet Isaiah are remembered and he is called Emmanuel, which means God is with us. When we worry, when we doubt, when we feel that we are walking the path alone God is with us. When we are filled with joy and excitement God is with us. Breathe that in and remember in the bustle of this busy season that God is with us and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

Service of Lessons & Carols

The music ensembles of St. John’s will present a service of Lessons and Carols Sunday, December 10 at the 8:00 am and 10:15 am services. A shortened service will also be presented the following Wednesday, December 13 at 6:30 pm. This is the twenty-fifth year the musicians of St. John’s have shared advent and Christmas music with the congregation. String players from the congregation and flutist Sarah Vinzant, from Kasson-Mantorville Schools, will join the ensembles this year.

A service highlight is four short movements from a Christmas Cantata entitled “For Us a Child is Born” for choir, bass soloist, and instruments. This piece was originally thought to be composed by J.S. Bach. Scholars now attribute it Johann Kuhnau, Bach’s predecessor at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.

This joyous service of spoken word and music will tell the Christmas story from the prophesy of the ancient prophets to the celebration at Jesus birth. Please invite your friends to join us.

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus

We are sharing the book Unwrapping the Names of Jesus for our Advent devotional. You are encouraged to join with us in dwelling more with Jesus. Copies are available in the Narthex (one per family). And follow along with our Facebook event for prompts and ideas each day.

Service of Lessons & Carols on December 11

The music ensembles of St. John’s Lutheran Church will present a service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 11 at the 8:00 am and 10:15 am services. This is the twenty-fourth year the musicians of St. John’s have prepared a program for the community. Participating in the service will be the Senior Choir, Senior Bells, Children’s Chimes, and Blended Team & Adult JAM . String players from the congregation will join the ensembles this year.  The joyous service of spoken word and music will tell the Christmas story from the prophesy of the ancient prophets to the celebration at Jesus birth.  All are welcome at this celebratory service.

Special Advent & Christmas Worship

Join us for these special worship opportunities this month!

Lessons & Carols Services – Dec 11 8:00 am & 10:15 am

Senior Christmas Worship with Communion & Luncheon – Dec 15 11:00 am

Children’s Christmas Program – Dec 18 10:15 am

Christmas Eve Worship – Dec 24 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 10:00 pm

Christmas Day Worship – Dec 25 10:15 am

New Year’s Day Worship – Jan 1 10:15 am

More details and additional events at www.stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Take time to focus on Joy this Advent

LindsayCowell2Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

As we approach Christmas we celebrate the season of Advent. We wait in anticipation for the coming of our Savior. Joyfulness is usually the order of the day as we prepare for family and friends to celebrate with us. Often we can get caught up in the preparations, rather than putting our energy into being present with those we care about. A couple of years ago I participated online in the Occupy Advent project. It is an online movement that calls people to reflect on the season through intentional conversation and taking time to notice small moments in your day. The students in my youth group at the time took part in a photo challenge on Instagram as well. I remember this time well as it was about a month before Oliver was born. During that life-changing time taking time to slow down reminded me that God was with me in all things and at all times.

We are living in a world with so much turmoil, hate, and misunderstanding. In these difficult times, more than ever, we need to take time to stop and consider what it means for God to be among us. Immanuel, God with us. I would invite you to take a day for yourself or a day and volunteer to help others. Pick up one of the Advent devotionals we have available at St. John’s. Go for a walk or drive to look at the holiday lights with a loved one. Use this time to be reminded that no matter how busy you are or how scary the world might seem at times that God is with us. God sent his only Son to be born of a woman and live among his people. That same Son is still with us today and we celebrate that as we prepare for the Christmas season. A blessed Advent to you all.

The Advent Conspiracy – a 5 week Bible study 

advent-conspiracy-logo-smSundays, 9:10 – 10 AM
Beginning November 13 in the Fireside Room (not meeting the 27)

Did you know we spend over $450 billion on Christmas every year?  In this study we’ll be learning about ways we can turn from our consumerist culture and be compassionate by spending less, giving more, loving all, and worshipping fully this holiday season.

Sign up at www.stjohnskasson.org/adventconspiracy, at the Welcome Center, or in the office.  Cost is $10

WELCA News

by Kay Hodge

The women of St. John’s will be busy ladies for the next two months. On November 13 Shirley Gangstad will be delivering our message as we celebrate THANK OFFERING Sunday. The women will be bold participants of the service that Sunday. We bring our offerings of thanks for the past year, offerings financial and for the food shelf. Any woman or child who would like to be a part of this service, please join us as we bring those offerings forward. We will provide envelopes for the financial offerings and also have some small grocery bags for our little women to carry to the front of the church.

December brings us to the Christmas Luncheon on December 10 where we celebrate Advent together with a room full of women served a lunch by the men of St. John’s. Be on the watch for the details of this event.

The Advent Conspiracy – a 5-week Bible study

advent-conspiracy-banner

Sundays, 9:10 – 10:00 am
November 13, 20, December 4, 11, 18
Fireside Room
Cost: $10

Did you know we spend over $450 billion on Christmas every year? In this study we’ll be learning about ways we can turn from our consumerist culture and be compassionate by spending less, giving more, loving all, and worshipping fully this holiday season.

For any questions, contact Amanda Sabelko – amanda@stjohnskasson.org or (507) 634-7110.

(Registration and payment are closed.)

 

Advent Worship

Coming Days Advent 2015 blue web

Advent Worship

During the season of Advent — November 29 until Christmas — we study the voices of the Old Testament prophets preparing the way for Jesus into our world!

Special Christmas Services

  • Festival of Lessons & Carols
    December 13, 8:00 & 10:15 am Services
  • Senior Christmas Worship & Lunch
    December 17, 11:00 am Service
  • Children’s Christmas Program
    December 20, 10:15 am Service
  • Christmas Eve Worship
    December 24
    2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 10 pm

Anyone Need Help Decorating the Tree?

Pastor DanaPastor Dana O’Brien
Associate Pastor

As many of you have noticed, I have been trying to invite myself over to your house pretty much since the first day I arrived here in Kasson. So here is another of my unending attempts to visit you all in your homes.

Now, some of you know how much I love Christmas. I love pretty much everything about Christmas — both the secular and religious — from the most sublime Christmas music to the tackiest front yard decoration. I love the movies, the songs, the food, and all the different Christmas traditions that help make this season really special.

So I have this idea. If any of you have traditions that you would like me to see, or wish to start a new Christmas tradition — like inviting the associate pastor over to help decorate the tree — I am more than available.  And, if you do invite me over, I will bring my own contribution to place on your tree, and you don’t even have to feed me. (If you want, I’ll even help decorate your tree. I’m actually great with tree lights — although I am aware that some people are a bit possessive about their lights).

If, as you’re reading this, you’re wondering “is Dana trying to invite herself over during the Christmas season?” let me make this perfectly clear.  The answer is a shameless “yes!”  That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I would love to see everyone’s Christmas decorations this season.  So don’t forget to ask me early before my schedule fills up. And a “Merry Christmas” to you all.