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Daily Advent Devotional

Please find below today's Advent poem, followed by a brief reflection prompt. You may want to journal, reflect in silence and/or prayer, or share your thoughts in conversation with another. Many thanks to Fred Truitt for selecting the poems for our devotional.

December 22

Annunciation to Mary
by Rainer Maria Rilke

The angel’s entrance (you must realize)
was not what made her frightened. The surprise
he gave her by his coming was no more
than sun or moon-beam stirring on the floor
would give another, — she had long since grown
used to the form that angels wear, descending;
never imaging this coming-down
was hard for them. (O it’s past comprehending,
how pure she was. Did not one day, a hind
that rested in a wood, watchfully staring,
feel her deep influence, and did it not
conceive the unicorn, then, without pairing,
the pure beast, beast which light begot, — )
No, not to see him enter, but to find
the youthful angel’s countenance inclined
so near to her; that when he looked, and she
looked up at him, their looks so merged in one
the world outside grew vacant, suddenly,
and all things being seen, endured and done
were crowded into them: just she and he
eye and its pasture, visions and its view,
here at the point and at this point alone:-
see, this arouses fear. Such fear both knew.

REFLECTION: What fears are you facing right now? Does being “seen” and known”—fears and all—feel risky?

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December 14 Announcements

Faith Formation: Please join us for our last Advent Adult Education offering in the sanctuary after worship. Fred Truitt will continue leading us on an Advent journey exploring the scriptural basis of Advent, the characters in the birth story of Jesus, and our cultural and familial traditions surrounding the season. Together in conversation, we make meaning of this special time in the church year. Join us, all are welcome! Reminder: There will be no Sunday school or nursery care available throughout the Advent season so that we can all worship together in the sanctuary.

2023 Year-end Donations: Year-end giving statements will be mailed by the end of January, 2024. Please note: any year-end donations that you want to count towards your 2023 giving statement must be received in the office by December 28 so that it can be deposited on December 29. 


2024 Stewardship Campaign: A huge thank you to all who have turned in a 2024 pledge card. If you haven’t had a chance to submit your pledge card yet, please consider dropping it the collection plate or mailing it to the office by December 17. This will help the church council draft our 2024 budget.

Christmas Poinsettias: The Altar Guild will be decorating the sanctuary with beautiful poinsettias again this year and welcomes your donations to help cover the cost. Please consider making a donation in honor or memory of someone special in your life. Envelopes for the special donations are available on the table as you enter the sanctuary.

Our Christmas Tree: A huge thank you to Karen Selvar, of Bainbridge Island Farms and Suyematsu Family Farm for donating the Christmas tree that will grace our Sanctuary. We encourage you to visit Bainbridge Island Farms on Manzanita Road if you are looking for a live tree as a way of thanking Karen for her generous donation.


Christmas Eve Services: Bethany will have two worship services on Christmas Eve. Both services will include music and candlelight. The earlier 5:00pm service will feature a special message and gift for children. This early service will be slightly shorter. The later 10:00pm service will feature the Bethany Choir and include the Service of Holy Communion. There will not be a service the morning of December 24 or Christmas morning.

Give the Lifesaving Gift of Blood: Bloodworks Northwest will hold a blood drive at Bethany on Friday, December 22. During this season of giving, please consider giving a lifesaving gift by donating blood. Appointments can be made by clicking the following link: https://donate.bloodworksnw.org/donor/auth/signin


Service of Remembrance: The annual Service of Remembrance is an opportunity to remember, honor and pray for those who have died on the streets or as a result of being homeless. The service will take place on Friday, January 5 at 4:00pm at Immanual Lutheran Church, 1215 Thomas St. Seattle. The event will also be live-streamed at hhtps://www.youtube.com/c/ImmanuelLutheranChurch.

Altar Flowers: The altar flowers this weekend are given by Barbara & Stephen Deines in honor of their 52nd wedding anniversary.

Thank You to this weekend's Worship Assistants:           
          Altar Duty: Barbara Swartling
          Saturday 5:00pm – Greeter/Usher: Carol Fenner; Lay Reader: Carol Fenner: Hospitality Host: Jennie Harris
          Sunday 10:00am – Greeters/Ushers: Barbara & David Swartling; Lay Reader: Linda Knudsen; Communion Assistant: Barbara Swartling; Hospitality Host: Karen Kushner & Linnea Chu

Christmas Eve Worship Assistants:
          Altar Duty: Gail Christensen
          5:00pm Early Service – Greeters/Ushers: Rachel & Lloyd Pritchett; Lay Reader: Rachel Pritchett
         10:00pm Late Service – Greeters/Ushers: TBD; Lay Reader: Carol Fenner; Communion Assistant: Vicki Browning


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