Advent 2017: Waiting for the Dawn
Many people, perhaps most, sleep through the dawn. They close their eyes when it's dark, and when they open their eyes it is, almost magically, light. The magnificent, mystical transition, the slow and patient transformation that is dawn, is lost on them. Darkness, it seems, is turned to light by blinking one's eyes. But we know better. We can take the dawning of a new day for granted because the earth's rotation is reliable. But to ignore the phenomenon is to miss a spectacular display of life-giving wonder. One cannot fully appreciate the day without experiencing its dawning.
Advent – the ritual of a new day, of new beginnings – walks its post from Thanksgiving to Christmas guarding aginst the onslaught of self-sufficiency, meaninglessness, and despair. A light dawns: small, struggling, determined. Advent's progressively sharpening focus will reveal that the far-off waving and kicking of the baby's arms and legs in Bethlehem's manger are not helpless flailing; they are the early dance steps of unconfined redemption.
2017 Advent Devotional
The Advent devotional this season is comprised of weekly writings from members of our congregation, as well as daily devotionals written by Dr. Terry York, who is a poet and Associate Dean of Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. Dr. York’s writings were developed around the choral work, Small, Dancing Light, which FPC’s combined choirs will be presenting with orchestra on Sunday morning, December 17, in all services. It is our hope that you will set aside a few moments each day to focus your heart and your prayer time on this season of expectancy as we await the coming of our Lord and Savior. Prepare for the Savior as we, together, await the dawn!
2017 Advent Events
Advent Equipping Seminar
Sundays | Dec 3-17 | 9:40am | Chapel
Join us for our winter Advent Equipping Seminar hosted by the BASICS Sunday School class. During this three-week seminar, we will learn about the history and importance of the season we celebrate called Advent.
16th Annual Advent Missions Market
Sun | Dec 17 | 8:30am-1pm | Palm Court
This year marks the 16th year of the Advent Missions Market here at FPC. The Advent Missions Market offers unique crafts and artisan gifts from our partners that make wonderful Christmas gifts. In addition, the sale of the items provides support for our global ministry partners while raising awareness of their ministries’ vital work.
Christmas Music Worship Services
Sun | Dec 17 | 8:30, 9:45 & 11am | Sanctuary
Chancel Choir and Sanctuary Singers will combine to present special music for the Advent season with orchestra.
This weekend, we are excited to welcome our entire FPC family, friends, and community for our Christmas Eve services. All normal Sunday worship parking options will be open, including the MFAH parking garage, which will be available for all services, free of charge. For more information on parking at FPC, please visit fpchouston.org/parking
Christmas Eve Morning
Sun | Dec 24 | 9am | Sanctuary
Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday! As such, we will gather for one combined worship service at to celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent. This will be a casual, family-friendly worship service for all ages. Please note that this service will be uniquely different from our Christmas Eve services.
Christmas Eve Worship
Sun | Dec 24
Join us for one of our four services as we celebrate the birth of Jesus!
3pm | Children & Family Service | Grand Hall
5pm | Contemporary Service | Grand Hall
7pm | Traditional Service led by Sanctuary Singers | Sanctuary
9pm | Traditional Service led by Chancel Choir | Sanctuary
*Please note that there is no 11pm service this year.
Each year, the Christmas Eve offering has been designated for one of our mission partners. This year, recognizing the great need that still exists in our city following Hurricane Harvey, the offerings taken during the Christmas Eve services will bless two of our partners doing great work after Hurricane Harvey – Attack Poverty and Agape Property Repair Team.
The Agape Property Repair Team (a ministry of Agape Development) trains, employs, and disciples ex-offenders from our community. These brothers in Christ are growing in their faith and providing for their families. For as long as funding is available, the Agape Property Repair Team will redirect their efforts to assist with Harvey relief, recovery, and development. Attack Poverty is a global organization that serves locally, adopting pockets of poverty and launching what they call 'Friends Initiatives'. These initiatives are long-term commitments that require mutual relationships and collaborative efforts with local organizations, churches, residents, and stakeholders committed to community transformation. Attack Poverty’s Friends of Northside initiative was launched prior to Harvey where their vision is to build relationships and tangibly respond to the needs of the Northside community. As a part of this effort, Friends of Northside is organizing a monthly rotation of opportunities including a once-a-month "needs assessment" and prayer walk the first Saturday of the month, as well as a once-a-month revitalization project on the third Saturday of the month. Showing the love of Christ in the Northside community will require consistency, patience, and people with many different skills and gifts.
As we celebrate and reflect on the birth of Jesus and enjoy our many blessings, may we not forget all those who are still rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. For more information, see their websites: http://www.attackpoverty.org and Agape Development . Please consider a generous gift to the Christmas Eve offerings and bless the vital work of these ministries. All loose plate offerings and designated checks will be directed to this special offering. Checks should be made out to FPC with a notation of “Christmas Eve”.