Christmas Is Almost Here!

December 18 TWASHLCSource:


Welcome Advent

Is it really the first Sunday of Advent? Are we sure about that? This week I opened a new folder on my computer; I have one for each church year which begins with the first Sunday of Advent and ends with Christ the King. “Sermons Year C 2015-2016” and only one little sermon in it now. And I see blue on the altar, so yes, it must indeed be the first Sunday of Advent. Happy Church New Year! A whole, fresh, new cycle lies ahead of us.advent

On Monday of last week, we had a campus ministry thanksgiving dinner in the fellowship hall and all of the students brought food for a covered dish dinner. Someone once told me that’s what you call a Friendsgiving—thanksgiving with friends. I like that because, since you replace “thanks” with “friends” in that little made up name for a big dinner gathering, it makes “friends” and “thanks” synonymous. At that dinner we told stories about funny or interesting family and friend traditions or experiences we’ve had during the holidays.

Thanksgiving in particular has always been a curiosity to me because it was not a huge celebration day for my family. It mostly centered around football and relaxing. Each year I remember the many times I spent Thanksgiving afternoon watching my mother’s neighbors decorate their home for Christmas, with their blinking lights, six foot candy canes, and a colossal half inflated Santa that never seemed quite able to stand up straight and always spent most of December in a half bow, bobbing up and down with the breeze. And of course the inflated NASCAR with three snowmen climbing out. As over the top it all was, watching them was part of my Thanksgiving tradition and I will admit that I miss it just a bit.

One month ago today I was in a store and the clerks were already shifting over Halloween costumes and autumn themed decorations to make way for the earliest Christmas items. I heard Christmas carols on the radio on Monday and I will even confess to a brief post-thanksgiving shopping trip where there were swags of red and green everywhere. It was nearly impossible not to see the angels and santas and sleighs and elves in all directions. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But it’s still November……………..

The remainder of this sermon can be found here

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Beginning Advent With Beautiful Music

Harpist W. Balfour Knight will present a program of sacred and classical Christmas music at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, December 4, in the sanctuary of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. A reception for the artists will be held in the Fellowship Hall following the concert. Knight will be accompanied by his wife, Carol Lynn Knight, vocalist and narrator.

An accomplished musician, Knight is currently the organist at Montreat Presbyterian Church, EPC in Montreat, NC. He received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Appalachian State University, along with a master’s degree in organ performance. He has studied harp privately with Park Stickney, Frank Voltz, Rhett Barnwell and others. He has published two books of harp arrangements along with Angi Bemiss of Atlanta. Carol Lynn Knight also holds a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University and studied voice from an early age. She performs as a soloist and director at various programs and events.

The concert at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church is free and open to the public.