Waiting and Rejoicing

On the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday, we pause and give space for our deepest joy as we feel the nearness of the birth of Jesus. Lighting the pink candle in our Advent wreath this Sunday reminds us that in our season of soul searching we also come to a place of joy.  Our Advent time of preparation, repentance, waiting and watching now gives way to the mystery of God with us, even in the most difficult times of our lives. Scripture readings for this Sunday show God’s people in all sorts of painful moments: Isaiah is writing to the Israelites in captivity in Babylon about his vision of the way home. In Matthew’s gospel, John the Baptist is in prison awaiting execution. We will also read the Magnificat from Luke’s gospel about the angel coming to Mary to tell her that she will bear the Son of God—surely a difficult moment to comprehend. Mary meets this news with rejoicing that this is God’s will for her and for all of humankind, proclaiming that justice is at hand.

     Come to St. Paul’s this week to celebrate the deep mystery of the incarnation, the mystery of God in human flesh who came to dwell among us.


Collect

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


Schedule of Upcoming Services

  • Christmas Eve Candle-lit Services –
    • 5:30 p.m. Family Service, harp prelude beginning at 5:00 p.m.
    • 10:30 p.m. “Midnight” Service
  • Sunday, December 29 – 9:00 a.m. Christmas Lessons & Carols (one service only!)

Altar Flowers are in given memory of Brian Dillon.

Help us Build our Food Tree: We’re building a Christmas “tree” of items for the Lee Food Pantry. Please bring any of the following items: 

  • non-perishable foods like cereal, oatmeal, pasta, hearty soup, tuna and canned fruits & vegetables 
  • personal care items like tissues, deodorant, razors, toothpaste, individual toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, lotion, shampoo, toilet paper, and diapers 
  • laundry and cleaning products 

Feel free to stack them in the front of the church and help grow the tree or leave them in the rear of the church and a food pantry volunteer will do the stacking. 

Christmas FlowersIf you would like to contribute toward special flowers for Christmas, please list those whom you wish to honor or remember on a “Christmas Flower” form by Thursday, December 19. Forms and payment may be put in the collection plate or mailed to St. Paul’s, PO Box 704, Stockbridge MA 01262.  

Our 2019 Christmas Giving Tree Project 

Compassion and generosity are afoot among our congregation. We have successfully completed phase one of 2019 Christmas Tree Giving Initiative. All 52 Gift Wish ornaments have been taken by our parishioners and these wishes are now being fulfilled. As said in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 “. . . for God loves a cheerful giver” warmth and goodwill embrace our Giving Tree. Please have all gifts at the church by December 16 so that they can be distributed to Construct, Inc., Dreams of Joy and the Elizabeth Freeman Center. Any St. Paul’s Christmas “Elf” who has a question please contact Vaunie Graulty 413-441-4204 or Bernadette Brusco 518-567-6720.

Oakes & Smith “The Holy Moment” Holiday Candlelight Concert
This Friday, December  13, 7:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s

This unique concert experience offers listeners a moment of stillness and peace during the often-hectic holiday season, a moment to touch the depth of this joyful and holy time of year. Oakes and Smith draw from a range of sacred and secular, contemplative and festive, traditional and original holiday music, performing either as a duo or with a full ensemble. Multi-denominational and eclectic in spirit, this program seeks to express the soulful presence shared by many traditions, as well as that found in nature. 

Lee Food Pantry – St. Paul’s will volunteer this Saturday, December 14 at 10:00 a.m.

Christmas Flower Arranging Workshop – Does your Christmas Dinner table need a little more festive decoration? Maybe your dinner table is set, but there’s an end table that is crying out for flowers. If so, come on Saturday, December 21, 10:00 a.m. to St. Stephen’s Church in Pittsfield to arrange your own table display ($20 fee). Everything you need will be provided– a tray, greens, and, of course, flowers, and even experienced flower arrangers to help you customize your own display. Come yourself and invite a neighbor or friend, but reserve your place soon, since space is limited. To reserve your place, please contact trinitylenox@gmail.com or 413-637-0073.  Proceeds will help fund the decorations for Cathedral of the Beloved’s Christmas Dinner.


Worship Teams (If you exchange shifts with someone, please notify the Church Office by Thursday morning at stpaulsstockbridge@gmail.com.)

This Sunday, December 15

Celebrant:The Rev. Sam Smith
Preacher:The Rev. Jane Tillman
8 am:Jorja Marsden
10 am:Diana French, Greeter
Kim Savery, Usher & Lector
Peter Dillon, Intercessor
Jennifer Carmichael, Altar Guild
Anne Covell & Bill Higgins, Hospitality
Nancy King, Organist

Next Sunday, December 22

Celebrant/Preacher:The Rev. Sam Smith
8 am:Pam Drumm
10 am:Don Temples, Greeter
Carl Sprague, Usher
Natalie Boyce, Lector
Sebastian Bonner, Intercessor
Tracy Johnson, Altar Guild
Ginny Willcox, Hospitality
Nancy King, Organist

Parish Prayer List

  • People we pray for on Sundays: Cecilia
  • Prayers of repose for the soul of Alexandra Willcox and Rene Auberjonois
  • Long-term prayer list: George, Jeff, David, Doug, Barbara, Charles, ZsuZsa, Tom, Rich, Ronnie, Karen, Michael, Christy, John, George, Khali
  • Our partners at Grace Church, Great Barrington and the Rev. Janet Zimmerman; Trinity Episcopal/Christ Lutheran, Sheffield and the Rev. Erik Karas; the Austen Riggs community and the Riverbrook Residence; victims of violence, abuse, persecution and disaster at home and abroad
  • Outreach Ministries of the Week: Cathedral of the Beloved
  • Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: St. Mark’s, Worcester
  • Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Sokoto
  • Birthdays: Alicia Newsome (15th), Libby Wade (16th), Bill Drumm (21st)