What is ADVENT All About?
Have you ever noticed that the great festivals and holidays of the Church Year are preceded and then followed by special seasons? The seasons that precede the holidays (“Holy-days”) (i.e. Advent before Christmas & Lent before Easter) are put there to help us prepare ourselves, so that we might better appreciate the meaning of these major Church holidays and festivals. Likewise the seasons after the holidays (i.e. the “12 days of Christmas”) are times when we apply the great meaning of the festivals and holidays to ourselves and to our own lives.
The season that we are currently in is Advent. The central idea and theme in this season is the thought of the Lord’s COMING (“Advent” = “Coming”). We are not just thinking of His coming once as a baby—the child of Bethlehem, but we think of a three-fold coming of Christ. 1. The Coming in the Flesh—there in Bethlehem. 2. The Coming in Glory—He will come again on the last day (we want to be ready for that!). And 3. the Coming in Grace—Jesus seeks every day to enter our hearts through His Word and Sacraments, bringing us His blessings of Forgiveness, Salvation, & Eternal Life!
This means that there is a whole lot wrapped up in Advent! Do we commemorate an event of History? YES! Are we to receive present Grace by Jesus’ entrance into our hearts through faith? YES! Are we to prepare ourselves for His future coming, when He will lead us victoriously into the next world? YES! This is what Advent is all about! Christ Jesus comes in all of these ways!
Many people today are not aware of this emphasis and theme of Advent. They don’t realize that this has been in common use for the Church for the last 2ooo years. Instead, it seems that many people today look at the season of Advent as simply a long, drawn out part of Christmas and the Nativity—when this is really what the “12 Days of Christmas” are designed for. When we skip over the meaning of Advent we are doing ourselves a great disservice.
Have you ever heard it said that “Hunger is the best sauce?” The point to that saying is, anticipation and waiting makes the coming event even better and greater! This is what Advent is for—to magnify and enlarge Christmas. It is a time of anticipation and waiting for us—helping us appreciate even more the gift that we receive on Christmas! Please, let Advent fulfill its purpose.
During this important season, please take the time to see and hear the historical details of the PAST—that is, the events leading up to His humble birth in Bethlehem. Please also be pointed to His other Comings—how He PRESENTLY comes to us through His Word and Sacraments, what we call His “Coming in Grace.” And also be pointed to His FUTURE coming—preparing yourself for the time He will return on that last day in Glory to judge the world.
As you sit in church and hear the lessons, sermons, and different parts of the Liturgy during this Advent season, I encourage you to watch for this emphasis on the Past, Present, and Future “Comings” of our Savior—and I urge you to appreciate and love this season of the Church Year! See that what St. Paul writes in Romans 13:11 is especially true in this Advent Season: “Salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.”
~ Pastor Luke Ulrich
Our December interview is a “two for one”. Scott Fassett and Katy Faugstad will be married on December 19.
Scott, a recent Bethany graduate was born in Houston, TX and grew up in Alexandria, MN. He played baseball and was in the marching band in high school. Having earned a degree in business at Bethany, he now works for Thrivent Financial. Scott is a Vikings fan and a bit of a ping pong expert.
Katy, originally from Bellview, MN will graduate from Bethany with a business degree a week before their wedding. She excels at both the violin and piano, and enjoys crocheting.
Together Scott and Katy serve as leaders for the Jr. Youth Group at Mt. Olive.
Important Dates at Mt. Olive Lutheran School
Sunday, December 6
Children’s Choir Sings
Tuesday, December 8
No AM Busing
Thursday, December 10
Barnes & Noble Book Fair
Friday, December 18
11:15AM Early Dismissal/ No PM Busing
Sunday, December 20
Children’s Christmas Service
Monday, December 21-Friday, January 1
No School – Christmas Break
Monday, January 4
1st Service: Arden Olson (captain), Eldon Sting, Peter Finken, Joe Finken, Mark Graham
2nd Service: Don Lehne (captain), Mark Johnson, Aaron Heyn, John Weber, Matthias Leyrer
1st Service: Steve Beilke (captain), Nate Beilke, Don Westphal, Eric Westphal, Elias Bonnet
2nd Service: Mike Pleiss (captain), Keith Eisberg, Loren Halvorson, Daniel Halvorson
December: Heidi Graham, Sharon Madson
January: Connie Gullixson, Connie Meyer
December: John Foede, John Baumann
January: John Pfeffer
Bible Classes at Mt. Olive
9:40AM Sundays (BIC)
9:40AM Sundays (Bible Study) Paul’s Missionary Journeys
8AM Tuesdays (Ladies Bible Study) Book of Acts
9AM Wednesdays (Bible Study) Augsburg Confession
Bible Information Class (BIC) is available for anyone interested in learning more about our Christian faith. Please talk to one of the Pastors if you’re interested.
Join us for our Advent Worship Services at 6:30pm!
“Our Savior Comes to Us Through Word and Sacrament” (Luke 1:76-79)
“Rejoice! Help Comes to Us from Bethlehem!” (Micah 5:2-5)
A Service of Lessons and Carols
Advent Meals served from 5-6:15pm in our Social Hall
Holiday Lights Display in Sibley Park
Mt. Olive is once again participating in Sibley Park’s Holiday Lights display for this Christmas season. Our church will have a decorated tree on display at the park, and we need volunteers to work during the open hours of the light display on Thursday, December 17 from 4:40-9PM. Please sign up on the narthex table. Also, if any groups are interested in helping the City set up before it opens, please let us know in the office.
Children’s Christmas Service
The Children’s Christmas Service will be held in the gym on Sunday, December 20 at 3PM. Band members should meet in the band room at 2:30PM to tune and line up before their pre-service performance. Please have your children to their classrooms by 2:45PM. Also, there will be a practice for the Service on Sunday, December 20 at 9:40AM.
It’s that time of year again! If you would like to order a poinsettia to be displayed at church this Christmas, please sign up on the sheet on the narthex table by Sunday, December 14. Poinsettias are $9.50 each. Please drop off your payment in the church office. Thank you.
Please submit any announcements to be included in our Sunday bulletin or the Olive Press Newsletter to the church office. You may call (507) 345-4966, or email information to Sarah Bloedel at email@example.com. The deadline for submitting bulletin announcements is noon on Wednesday. Any Olive Press newsletter articles or announcements should be submitted by the 15th of the previous month.
Our Services are now ARCHIVED ONLINE!
Mt. Olive services are archived on a VIMEO page.
Check it out: http://Vimeo.com/mountolive
Mt. Olive services are also being shown on local cable channel 181 (Charter) and 7 & 507 (Consolidated Communications) on Wednesdays at 10AM and Thursdays at 11:30AM.
New 2 You Family Thrift Store
It takes on average 120 hours a week of volunteer time to fill the shifts? This is about 24 hours, per church, per week or 6—4 hour shifts. Thank you to all those who volunteer to make our mission possible. Please continue to support New 2 You by volunteering, making donations, shopping our store, or praying for continued blessings on their efforts. If you would like to become a volunteer please call New 2 You at 507-385-1455. We still need help on December 5!
“TRASH FOR CASH” is a way that the PTF is able to make money for our school by mailing in “trash.” This “trash” is found on products you buy every day. It’s easy! Just cut off the label or turn in the receipt or ink cartridge for the following products in the bins in the corner of the social hall.
- Box top labels from General Mill’s products
- Campbells labels (soups, healthy request, swanson foods, prego, pepperidge farm etc)
- Tyson products
- Any used ink cartridge
- Hy-Vee receipts (can be from either Mankato location and must be dated September 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016 only)
- Kwik trip products (from kwik star natures touch or kwik quencher products)
Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School
MVL Food Service Assistant Opening After 20 years of serving lunch to students at MVL, Vickie Randall will be retiring at the end of December. We thank Vickie for her service and wish her God’s blessings in the future! As a result of Vickie’s retirement, we will have a part-time position open in the food service at MVL. This position is for about 6 to 6 1/2 hours per day during the school year. Tasks include: food preparation and service, washing dishes and clean up. Individuals interested in this position should contact Principal Tim Plath at MVL at 507-354-6851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MVL Christmas Concert Join us for our Christmas Concert on Tuesday, December 22 at 7PM. The concert will include participation by the Concert Choir, Freshman Choir, Chargaliers, and the Concert Band.
Mt. Olive School Scrip Program
The Scrip program offers gift cards for purchase for a wide variety of retailers. A percentage of gift card purchases go towards Mt. Olive Tuition. Visit www.shopwithscrip.com to view the 400+ participating retailers. If you have any questions or need help getting started email Tanya Norris email@example.com or Krista Petzel firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flowers for the Altar
There is still one Sunday remaining in 2015 when you may donate flowers for church – December 13. If you wish to provide flowers for this date please sign the flower chart in the entrance. SINCERE THANKS to all who have provided flowers throughout the year!
Home Purchase Project
Mount Olive is looking at ways we could purchase certain homes around the church when they become available, which could help us accommodate for the future growth of our congregation. Once again a generous donor has offered a gift of $10,000 for this purpose, based on a matching amount from the members. So far, $7,000 has been donated, leaving us just $3,000 from our matching goal. Would you consider a special donation which would help us direct $20,000 for the growth of our church and school. Please note “Home Purchase Project” on your donation. Thank you!
Bethany Lutheran College
The ELS Ottesen Museum invites you to its 5th annual Christmas Open House. This year’s theme is “Christmas Across the ELS: Traditions Old and New”. Displays will highlight the various ways Christmas is celebrated in congregations all across our Synod. The ELS Ottesen Museum’s Christmas Open House is Tuesday, December 8, 2015, from 2:30 – 5:30 pm at 4 Browns Court, Mankato.
Fine Arts Events:
The Bethany Music Department presents the annual Christmas at Bethany concerts in Trinity Chapel at 4 p.m. daily December 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The concert will feature the Concert Band, String Band, Concert Choir, Mary Martha Singers, and Handbell Choir. Seating is general admission. Christmas at Bethany tickets are free. A free-will offering will be received during the concert. Reserve online at blc.edu or by calling Bethany’s Fine Arts office at 507-344-7365.
Thurs., Dec. 3 at 7:00 p.m. in YFAC Gallery – The Student Art Show displays the best work of the semester. The public is invited to view the work, meet the artists, and attend a reception in the gallery. The show is on display from Dec. 3-11. (Combine your trip to campus with Thursday’s Christmas at Bethany concert!)
Wed., Dec. 9 at 7:00 p.m. in Trinity Chapel – Instrumental Festival concert, featuring the Bethany String Band and Chapel Brass. Guest soloists Nick Wayne, tenor and Jennifer Haugen, soprano. Free.
Fri., Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the YFAC Theater – The Divers‘ Christmas Party Concert. Free! This popular annual concert includes a Christmas carol sing-along.
What does it mean to have a Merry Christmas?
“Merry Christmas!” What is a Merry Christmas? Sadly for many people it can mean, and does mean, many different things. To some a Merry Christmas is simply a happy time of year when they get together with family and friends. To some a Merry Christmas is a break from school and work. For many charities a Merry Christmas is the increase of funds received from the public. And for many children it is a happy time when they receive many toys and other gifts. Sadly, these ideas and concepts of a Merry Christmas are short lived. Once the Christmas season is over the joy is over as well. It is back to work and school, the gifts and toys are broken and set aside, the troubles that plagued families before Christmas pick up where they left off after Christmas. And the charities start planning how to collect more funds next year. People such as these do not know, believe, or have lost focus in the true meaning of a Merry Christmas.
Many people in our nation contend that the words “Merry Christmas” are politically incorrect. They come out with statements claiming that the words “Merry Christmas” are offensive to some in our nation. The truth of the matter is that such claims are made by those being used by this sinful world and the devil to take the true focus of the real meaning of “Merry Christmas.”
Thanks be to God that the true meaning of Christmas is still found and celebrated in Christian Churches and homes across our nation. The words of the angels recorded in Luke chapter 2:9-14 are still just as true and meaningful as when they were spoken, “And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
The true joy in a Merry Christmas is Christ, the babe born in Bethlehem, the Savior of the world from sin and eternal death. It is a joy that will not fade with the passing of the Christmas season but will remain glowing in the hearts of all that believe. Please join us this Christmas season as we celebrate the true meaning of a “Merry Christmas.” Please bring your friends and family. –ELS Board for Home Outreach