Advent & Christmas at UCU

Christmas Eve Services

Sunday, Dec. 24 @ 10:00 am – outdoor live nativity.

Sunday, Dec. 24 @ 7:00 pm – Candlelit service with lessons and carols. Live streamed.

Other Services

Sunday, Dec. 17 – Advent III @ 10:00 am (with live stream) – Worship with the “Friendly Beasts” Christmas Pageant. We’ll hear and see how the animals took in Jesus’ birth with a presentation from our Ministry in Christian Education. A special collection will benefit retired United Methodist clergy.

Wednesday, Dec. 20 – Longest Night service at 7:00 pm at Richmond Congregational Church, UCC. – This service is designed for those who need space to mourn, grieve, or find some silence in this season. As we approach the longest night of the year, we will gather together to pray, light candles, and be honest about the losses and love that surround us.

View the printable letter and schedule for Advent 2023.

I will light Candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.

—Howard Thurman

Whether Christmas is a holiday we anticipate gladly or with trepidation, this high holy day occurs (in the northern hemisphere) at the darkest time of the year. As the long nights and short, cold days challenge body and soul, we pile on the layers and hunker down. On good days, it’s cozy; on less good days, the darkest season can be heavy.

Against this background, and that of our weary world, Advent poses seemingly impossible invitations: Hope for a better future! Believe that pain can pass! Welcome new life amidst dormancy! On good days, we join in the yearning. On less good days, it seems a bit futile.

Chances are, our lives this Advent will include good days and less good days. There may be days when we catch a glimpse of the season, and days when the burdens we carry leave us far from the hope Advent insists on. We may not be able to choose which days are good or less good, but there are things we can do regardless of what day it is: ways we can live Advent while we wait on its promises.

As Howard Thurman writes, we can light candles. When the world offers a whole lot of one thing, we can dare to offer a glimmer of something else. The simple discipline of lighting a flame can be faith enough.

We can gather together, sharing the prayers and pains, stresses and miracles that come with this season. As always, UCU is offering several opportunities for Advent worship, learning, and service (see left).

And we can give. Special collections this year will benefit retired clergy and the Vermont Foodbank. Our mitten tree will provide gifts and a Christmas meal for a local family. Ongoing initiatives like Harvest Crossing and the Ecumenical Food Shelf also welcome year-end support. Give as you are led and able.

Whether the days are good or less good, the Advent promise is real: God has come to be with us. So light a candle, darken a door, share a blessing, and trust that hope will work its way in.

With heart,
Pastor Jen