Advent and Christmas at Saint James
Waiting in anticipation
Each year, as we enter the Advent and Christmas seasons, we prepare our hearts and minds for the arrival of God into our world as an infant. During this time of quiet reflection, wonder and expectation, we invite everyone to explore the activities at Saint James to help deepen their Advent experience as we look forward to the birth of our Lord.
Advent wreath making typically takes place in the forum room of the parish house just prior to the beginning of Advent. All are invited to participate in this family, hands-on activity that makes it possible for participants to celebrate, in their homes, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.
St. Nicholas Mass*
This delightful tradition at Saint James celebrates the life of Nicholas of Myra—better known to us as St. Nicholas.
As families arrive for the evening service, children are encouraged to leave their shoes in the chapel before going to the sanctuary, in stocking feet, to take part in the mass.
Not long after the service begins, a loud knock is heard at the church doors. St. Nicholas has arrived! As he makes his way down the aisle, children are invited to the front of the church to learn more about this famous church bishop.
After the service, children return to the chapel to retrieve their shoes filled with treats. The mass is a reminder of the generosity of St. Nicholas and how we are also called to a life of giving.
*In 2020, St. Nicholas stopped by the churchyard because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Festival of Lessons and Carols
The Anglican tradition of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols during the season of Advent dates back to 1880 when Edward White Benson (later to become Archbishop of Canterbury) designed the service for use on Christmas Eve in Cornwall, England.
This Advent season at Saint James, our Festival of Lessons and Carols will include four lessons and music by the Saint James choir, Dr. William Wright, vocalist Seth Antes and clarinetist Doris Hall-Gulati. Click here to view the video on our Saint James YouTube channel.
Monday, December 21, on the winter solstice
Blue Christmas (also called the Longest Night) is a day in the Advent season marking the longest night of the year which falls on or about December 21, the winter solstice.
On this day, we honor those who have lost loved ones and are experiencing grief. All are invited to visit the churchyard—adorned in blue lighting—which will remain open until 8 PM.
Children’s Mass and Pageant
Join the community of Saint James for our Christmas Pageant and Mass as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. This annual tradition begins with a prelude featuring our youth followed by the reading of the Christmas narrative while over 40 cast members, in costume, act out the story. All are welcome as we celebrate the birth of our Lord!
Women’s Gathering in Advent
December 15, 2 – 2:30 PM via Zoom
Women’s Gathering prepares for Advent in a discussion of St. Hildegard’s life and her vision, “The Redeemer” from Scivias (Know the Ways of God). In “The Redeemer,” she describes how “The Living Light” redeemed the world through the Incarnation.
Saint Hildegard of Bingen was a medieval nun, counselor, healer, philosopher and composer who was one of the few prominent women in medieval church history. She is one of only four women who were named a doctor of the church, meaning that her doctrinal writings have special authority in Roman Catholicism. She is considered by many to be a patron saint of musicians and writers.
If you would like the Zoom invitation to attend, please email Lorraine Rollo.
In the Footsteps of Mary: An Advent Pilgrimage
With Dr. Cordelia Moyse on December 12th at 2 & 4 PM
The theme of the walk is the Magnificat, the joyous song Mary proclaimed when the Angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the mother of Jesus.
As we make our way through the sanctuary, chapel and churchyard, participants will be invited to think about Mary’s powerful vision of the world shaped by faith, hope and love. We will also reflect on the lives of some of the inspiring people for whom Saint James was their spiritual home.
Our walk will begin at the gazebo and will last approximately 40 minutes. Masks and social distancing are required. Held rain or shine.
Men’s Spirituality Group
December 12, 8 – 10 AM via Zoom
In this season of Advent, we examine our expectations for life’s transformations and how scripture, prayer, liturgy, and community can help us understand them in the context of God’s grace, mercy and will for our lives. What are we expecting from God through life’s transformations? Join us as we discuss and consider our transformations in this season of expectation.
Hershey Handbell Ensemble to Perform at Saint James
Saturday, 4 – 6 PM in the cloister fountain area
The Hershey Handbell Ensemble will be at Saint James to ring in the sounds of the holiday season from the cloister fountain area from 4 – 6 PM Saturday, December 19th.
Masks and social distancing are required. Event subject to change.