A Message from Our Senior Pastor
Dates at a Glance
November 29, 5:30-7:00 pm – A Night in Bethlehem
December 9, 10am – 12 Stops of Christmas
December 10 – Lessons & Carols
December 13 – Family Movie Night & Gingerbread Nativities
December 21, 6pm – Service of Healing and Light
December 21, 7:30pm – Solstice Concert presented by the Cahaba Chamber Chorale
December 24, 10am – Traditional Advent Service in the Sanctuary
December 24 – Candlelight Christmas Eve Services at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, and 11:00 pm. (Childcare will be available at 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00 pm.)
December 24 – Serving others at Hospitals, Fire & Police Stations | Meet in Lighthouse Lobby at 7:30
December 25, 11:30am – Christmas Day Lunch (bring a side dish to share)
December 31, 10am – one service only
Candlelight Christmas Eve Services
2:00 pm* – Candlelight Communion Service | Sanctuary
4:00 pm* – Candlelight Communion Service | Sanctuary
4:00 pm* – Candlelight Communion Service | Tyson Hall
6:00 pm* – Candlelight Communion Service | Sanctuary
8:00 pm – Communion Service | 30 Minute Service | Chapel
11:00 pm – Candlelight Communion Service | Sanctuary
* Childcare available on the preschool floor
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.
This year’s Advent offering recipient will be the VHMC Car Ministry. This ministry helps so many in our community. Through this program, lives are changed and transformation happens. By having reliable transportation, families are able to keep their jobs, get their children to school and activities, and continue with their everyday lives. This advent offering will enable our team to purchase cars for applicants on our waiting list and make someone’s Christmas a little brighter for the upcoming year.
Advent Offering envelopes will be located outside the Sanctuary in the Narthex and in the hall outside Tyson Hall as well as in the pews. Please use the envelope to make a donation or write Advent offering in the memo line on your check. If you prefer to give on line, then please click the Advent offering link below.
White Christmas Offering
Our church will host a White Christmas offering in support of Embrace Alabama Kids on the first Sunday of Advent. Embrace Alabama Kids began over 130 years ago as an orphanage. Today, it is one of the state’s most comprehensive and vital resources serving babies, children, youth, teen mothers, college students, and families. Your gift will provide them with homes for the holidays—and every day—embracing them in the powerful and unconditional love of God. Join our congregation in being the light of God’s love this Christmas. Consider giving the gift of homes, healing, and hope.
We will be supporting several organizations in the community. Please feel free to pick up an Angel at one of our worship services. If you are unable to shop this year, but you would still like to contribute to the program, please feel free to donate on line, and our volunteers will make sure all angels are taken care of this Christmas. Thank you for making someone’s Christmas a little brighter.
Mae Mae’s Hugs
True to the spirit of what Maegan Moore aspired to accomplish in her life, her heartfelt compassion for the less fortunate, and underprivileged children with inequities beyond their control, her memory and legacy of love, will continue to touch us all. Thanks to the contributions of our church over the last 6 years, over 3,500 warm coats have been distributed to children & adults across the state of Alabama. We are accepting NEW coats or monetary donations to purchase. To drop off a new coat please contact Anne Strozier at email@example.com.
Advent Devotional Guide
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus was the Light of the World and our call is to shine his light through us into a sometimes dark and desperate world. Our current year, 2023, has been shaped around the theme of “Shine His Light” and this light can be manifested in many ways, especially in worship, service, and growth in our faith.
There are times in our lives when it takes a huge effort to see God’s light anywhere. As we all know too well, life can be full of sorrow, tragedy, and debilitating disappointment. However, when Jesus walked this earth, he taught us that hope, light, and grace are always with us. That means God will send light into our lives when we need it. Sometimes in expected ways and sometimes in ways that are completely unexpected. We just need to have enough courage to open our eyes and our spirits to see God’s light. In other seasons of life, though, we are allowed to be God’s light that will shine into the lives of others in ways we cannot image.
So this year, each daily contribution for the Advent Devotional Booklet will be written by someone who allowed God’s light to shine through them so others could know that hope, light, and grace are always with them. However, God loves us where we are, but loves us too much to leave us there. That means even when we shine God’s light into the lives of others, we too are transformed. Others have chosen to write about a person whose Light shown so brightly that their own faith journey was Illuminated and changed forever. I am so grateful to all the children, students, adults, and pastors that shared their inspirational story during this holy season of Advent.
As always, my deepest prayer is these Advent devotions will bless you, comfort you, guide you, and give you the hope, peace, love, and joy of the Advent season as we all watch and wait for the coming of the coming of the Christ Child into our hearts and our world again. May we all keep our eyes on the light that will guide us to the Baby who changed this world forever.
Children’s & Family Ministry Activities
A Night in Bethlehem
November 29 | 5:30-7:00 pm | Tyson Hall
We invite everyone to join us for an intergenerational event, A Night in Bethlehem. We want to share the “Greatest Story of All Time” through a Christmas experience where you will do more than just hear about the birth of Jesus – you will see, touch, feel, and smell what life was like at this miraculous moment.
Journey through the streets of Bethlehem and watch your children make crafts typical of ancient times (appropriate for 3 years – 5th grade). Your evening will not be complete without witnessing Mary, Joseph, and the newborn King in the company of animals in the stable. This is not your typical “living nativity” because you will be able to talk with Mary and Joseph discovering that God used regular people to fulfill His promise.
We hope to see you and your family as we witness the miracle that happened on A Night in Bethlehem.
Family Movie Night & Gingerbread Nativities
December 13 | 5:30 pm | Tyson Hall
Join us for a night of Christmas fun! Grab your dinner from the Fellowship Hall beginning at 5:00 pm. Then join us in Tyson Hall for a movie and a family Gingerbread Nativity decorating party. We will be serving hot chocolate during the movie. Please note that children need to be accompanied by an adult. Please register for this event below.
Happy Birthday Jesus Party
December 17 | 9:45 am | Sunday School Room
Children 2k to 5k are invited to celebrate Jesus’ birthday! Please bring an unwrapped pair of childrens socks, mittens, or a warm cap to be given to children at Birmingham Housing Authority.
Hope for the Holidays
Preparing for the Holidays
November 2 | 6:00 pm | Room 202
The holiday season can be especially challenging for those of us who have experienced the loss of a loved one. VHMC’s Grief Support Ministry Team hosts a special event, Preparing for the Holidays, which focuses on navigating the holidays while experiencing a season of grief.
We hope that you will make use of the attached Grief Survivors Guide (click on the “Download Your Guide” link below), which offers resources for navigating your own grief journey. Lastly, would you like to know about a few opportunities to reach out and help others during this holiday season?
If you know of others who could benefit from these resources, we encourage you to pass them along. Please know that VHMC continues to hold you and your families in prayer this holiday season, and always.
Service of Healing and Light
December 21 | 6:00 pm
The holly-jolly Christmas atmosphere can be difficult if we are experiencing the recent loss of a loved one or a significant life-changing event. We need the space to acknowledge our grief and hold it up to the light of the Christmas message: God is with us. Come be a part of this very special service on Thursday, December 21, at 6:00 pm, in the Chapel!
May God bless, keep, guide, and comfort you,
VHMC Grief Support Ministry Team
This Christmas you can donate poinsettias in memory or honor of a loved one for $20. To make a tribute, please contact Margaret Flowers (769-0112) by December 11. Order forms will also be available in the church office.
We read in scripture that God didn’t choose royalty or a military power to give birth to John and Jesus. He chose Elizabeth and Mary, two women who knew their roles and helped others. On Christmas Eve VHMC will be going to Brookwood hospital and the local police and fire departments to serve those who are serving others. if you want to experience Christmas in a new and different way then join us on Christmas Eve at 7:30 pm in the Lighthouse lobby. For more information please contact Jim Frazier.
12 Stops of Christmas
December 9 | 10:00 am – noon
Thrive will host its annual “12 Stops of Christmas with Santa” benefitting Birmingham families. Our event will take place on the Tyson side of our building. It is a special day for our students to visit with these families and their children throughout the stops while sharing games, snacks, and other treats. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the 12th stop sharing gifts for each child, which is always a treat for all!
Click the links to sponsor a family, give monetary donations, and volunteer for this very special day! We appreciate your help making this a meaningful day for all! It is truly a blessing for our church family to share with these very special families!
Please return your unwrapped gifts by Monday, December 4, to the Thrive Office at the church. We will have materials there for you to label your gifts. If you have any questions please contact Anna Watts (firstname.lastname@example.org).