December 4, 2017

Greetings in Jesus Christ,

The word “Advent” literally means “the coming.” This season of Advent is about preparation. What are we preparing? Basically, we are preparing our hearts to welcome Christ in His coming. As John the Baptist cried out, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” in anticipation of Christ’s manifestation to the world, we can mark Advent in simple ways that remind us and others that we are preparing the way of the Lord. In the season of Advent, we can prepare ourselves to meet Christ afresh.

So, with your kids, grandkids, or even great-grandkids around the table, how can I walk through Advent, and prepare the way of the Lord? Below are a few simple suggestions for liturgical living in real life.

Advent Candles & Wreath
Create space for a simple Advent wreath with candles this year. Each evening, or every Sunday, turn off all the lights nearby and light the correct number of candles for the week. This can be coupled with a simple prayer or a simple song. This is a very simple way to mark Advent that engages even the youngest child.

A Simple Song
One of my favorite ways to celebrate Advent is by singing. We sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” when we light our Advent candles. The first week of Advent, we sing one verse. The second week, we sing verses one and two. By the end of Advent last year, my kids both knew four verses by heart and loved this simple way to mark time until the birth of Christ.

Purple or Blue Paper Napkins
The liturgical color of Advent is blue or purple, which signifies royalty (our King Jesus!) and penitence as we prepare our hearts for his coming. Buy purple paper napkins to use during Advent.

If you have a nativity set or creche, set it up in a common area. Set the Holy Family across the room. Each Sunday during Advent, or each time you remember, move the Holy Family closer to the manger as we travel closer to Jesus’ birth. Hide baby Jesus until Christmas Eve and have the kids find him.

Service Outside Your Home
Find a way to serve together as a family. Delivering meals to those in need, supporting Adopt-A-Family, or making toiletry care packages in Sunday school for people in the homeless community.

Consider taking some time this Advent to create space for preparation, so that when Christmas arrives, you will be ready–not just for the presents and the tree, but for the presence of the Savior and King.

Advent Blessings,

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers use the same shopping features as on amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.

To participate the next time you shop at Amazon, go to smile.amazon.com. If you have not already done so, you will be asked to select a charitable organization. To designate Hephatha, just type Hephatha in the search and then click the select button (see picture below).

You can also use this link.

Once you designate Hephatha, all your purchases through smile.amazon.com will support Hephatha. Not just during Christmas but all year long.

Offering Envelopes

2018 Offering envelopes are available in the Narthex.

If you do not have envelopes, but would like some, please check the box on the envelope in the pew, or write your request on the Get Connected card.

Pacific Southwest District Elections

The Rev. Dr. Larry Stoterau, President of the Pacific Southwest District of the LCMS is retiring on June 30, 2018. This means the congregations of the Pacific Southwest District will be electing a new president at the District convention in June 2018. Each congregation of the District has the opportunity to nominate an ordained pastor to fill this position.

If you would like to nominate a qualified pastor to fill the upcoming vacancy for District President please contact Jeff Wakefield, president, Henry Aschbrenner, vice-president or Catherine Lagaris, church administrator before January 15, 2018. The church Council will discuss the nominations received and submit our congregation's choice for President at its January 18th. meeting.

Mid-Week Advent Services & Dinner

Whether you are the person who is ready to relax and savor the season because you did all your shopping and preparations months ago (not likely) or the person who dreads the busyness, responsibilities or loneliness that steal your joy this time of year (much more likely), the Christmas season offers a unique opportunity to experience God’s love. Jesus—the Messiah, the Savior—came as the light into the darkness of our world. That world then, just like our world now, including our lives, needs the light to illuminate. Christ’s coming brings that ultimate light and His peace, joy, and love. Those are the true gifts of Christmas.

Join us for an unforgettable Advent series as we celebrate how Jesus’s birth brings us hope, love, and joy today!

Join us each Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in the
Fellowship Hall for an Advent Dinner followed by worship at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

December 6, 2017 — “The Gift of Hope”
Dinner hosted by the Board of Elders

December 13, 2017 — “The Gift of Love”
Dinner hosted by Evangelism Board

December 20, 2017 — “The Gift of Joy”
Dinner hosted by the Youth Board


Advent the Whole Story
It just doesn’t work to start in the middle of a story. There will be conversations and decisions and reactions that make no sense to you because you missed the beginning. In this Advent series, you hear the whole story, from beginning to end.

December 3, 2017
The Need―Genesis 6:5-8

December 10, 2017
The Plan―Isaiah 53:10; Romans 8:31

December 17, 2017
The Announcement―Luke 2:14

Please join us for the Voters’ Assembly Meeting on December 17, after the 11:00 a.m. service in the Fellowship Hall.

We will be electing officers and board members for the upcoming year. In order to vote you will need to be at least 18 years-old and a member of Hephatha.


Christmas Eve Morning we will have one service at 10:00 a.m. Childcare (18 months—3 years old) will be available for this service. No Sunday School.

Date: Sunday, December 24
Time: 10:00 a.m.

Christmas Eve, we offer two services at 7:00 p.m. & 11:00 p.m.

Date: Sunday, December 24
Time: 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

Christmas Day we will have one all-church festival celebration at 10:00 a.m. Sunday School or Childcare is NOT available.

Date: Monday, December 25
Time: 10:00 a.m.

What is Happening at
Hephatha this Week

MONDAY: December

  • Junior High School Youth Group @ 7:00 p.m. in the Youth Room.

TUESDAY: December 5

  • Praise Band Rehearsal @ 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

WEDNESDAY: December 6

  • Women's Wednesday Study @ 9:00 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Advent Dinner hosted by the Board of Elders (stuffed pork chops) @ 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Mid-week Advent Service @ 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.
  • High School Youth Group @ 7:00 p.m. for the Advent Service and 8:00 p.m. for fellowship in the Youth Room.

THURSDAY: December 7

  • Women's Thursday Study @ 9:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

SUNDAY: December 10

  • Services: 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:00 a.m.
  • Sunday School @ 9:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Child Care @ 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 6:01 p.m. in Room 6.
  • "Open in the Word" Bible Study @ 9:30 a.m. in the Youth Room.
  • Confirmation Meeting @ in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Advent by Candlelight & Ornament Exchange @ 3:30 p.m. at Laureene Ernst's Home.

MONDAY: December 11

  • Junior High School Youth Group @ 7:00 p.m. in the Youth Room.
Amazon Smile

Shop for everyone on your gift list this Christmas at Amazon Smile and Amazon donates to Hephatha Lutheran Church.
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