Deans' Note November 28, 2021

Every year as we prepare for the coming of Christmas at St. John’s we join many other churches across the nation in the Advent Conspiracy – a way to separate our pre-Christmas practices from the hype of the consumer culture. The Advent Conspiracy invites us to “Worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all.” These simple actions allow us to step into the spirit of Advent preparation.

As hard as it may be, let’s not give in to the stressful, frantic, anxious spirit of buying and busyness. Rather, spend time in quiet and prayer to prepare for the coming of Jesus more fully into our own lives. As strange as it may seem, spending less money on gifts with little meaning provides an opportunity to be thoughtful and creative in giving more of ourselves – maybe giving the gift of time together, or a handmade gift, or give something in the name of the person you might otherwise give a gift they may not really need.

Here at St. John’s, we have the perfect opportunity at our alternative Christmas fair during the Sundays of Advent. Last year we couldn’t offer this experience because of the pandemic, but this year it's back! This year all proceeds from our Christmas fair will go to our Choral Academy and our food pantry. You will have the opportunity to give to these ministries and you will receive a card that lets your friends or family members know you gave a gift in their name to either feed people in need, or to help children learn to sing and gain important life skills through the Choral Academy. This year Fr. Mark’s jams and preserves will also be on offer again as a homemade gift for those on your shopping list. 100% of the proceeds go to these two ministries as well.

We will have a Christmas giving tree (new this year). Everyone who gives a gift to these ministries will have their names placed as ornaments on the tree as a visible sign of love incarnate given to our neighbors. This year, we also are partnering with a neighborhood school. While we are exploring with their principal ways we can make a positive contribution, we will also invite them to participate in our choral program – an opportunity many children may not otherwise have to learn music.

The last theme in our Advent Conspiracy is to love all. That’s at the heart of everything we do. Jesus came into our world, our neighborhood, as the child of Bethlehem and he loved us so much that he gave himself for us. So, as we prepare for this Christmas season, let’s love our neighbors, those around us at St. John’s, and all those we encounter this Advent. While anxiety ramps up around us, let’s give kindness and joy. The world turned upside down at Christmas when God’s love was made flesh for us -- good tidings to make us very merry all year long.