(Posted December 2, 2017)
“Thank you, Dear Creator, for Life. Thank you for Dreams. Thank you for Ideas and Thoughts
and Feelings. Most of all, thank you for choosing me to grow - just for today - and to know
the Wonder of Your World and its many Possibilities.”
Janie Jasin, The Littlest Christmas Tree: A Tale Of Growing And Becoming
The Christmas Season – that time of preparation known as Advent, where we get to haul out the old boxes of decorations, and set up the tree. Why is this moment one of the most enjoyable of our year?
I think I know why.
It’s the same reason that people all around Danbury become excited and happy when we turn on the candles in the windows of First Church. And they tell us so. It’s not only beautiful when they round the corner of Deer Hill and West. It’s also reassuring, it’s familiar. It’s a touchstone for all those moments before when we can count on Christmas coming back into our lives. In a world where so little seems reassuring, where so few things make us feel safe and loved, coming back to church for Christmas lets us know that we are still welcome, that God still makes a place for us in this world.
Services begin at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
Christmas is preparation. It’s rifling through the ornament boxes, remembering who gave them to us, and perhaps, sending up a prayer for those who aren’t here this year to help us set up. Christmas and its decorations is an outward-facing act of love on our part. We decorate, not just for ourselves, and not only to honor God for the gift of Jesus, but we hang the lights and the greens as an act of love of neighbor, to delight so many pairs of eyes that belong to people we may never meet. Love of Neighbor. Now that’s a theme to hold onto this Advent season. What ways are we expressing our love of neighbor as we round the bend toward Christmas? The Christmas story itself is studded with small moments when neighbors helped to save a tiny family and a new life.
Please be with us this Sunday, December 3 when we welcome this season of anticipation, of beautiful things, and of caring people who make us joyful to be together. You might even invite someone new to come with you! - Pastor Pat Kriss
(Posted December 7, 2017)
The Danbury Children's Community Chorus will present a concert of a variety of pop and holiday songs on Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Danbury. The one-hour performance will also feature the children’s skill on the hand bells.
The church is located at 164 Deer Hill Avenue in Danbury, across from City Hall.
The concert is the culmination of a choral program that met weekly during the autumn. The Spring Session will begin on February 20. Practice will be held on Tuesday afternoons from 4:30 to 5:30. The Community Chorus program is free and open to all children from kindergarten to middle school. Contact Patricia Moriarty (right), at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the program.
Moriarty, who has 40 years of choral teaching experience in the Ridgefield schools, started this chorus at First Church about five years ago. Her aim has always been to make it a fun experience for the children, and she has succeeded each and every year.
All photos are from prior concerts.
(Posted December 9, 2017)
It goes without saying. We sure could use a little Christmas right now… and why not!? As I sit here penning this week’s E Tidings, it happens to be St. Nicholas’ Day. It’s also time to think about the real man named Nicholas who became known over time as St. Nick, Father Christmas and, with help from Coca-Cola, Santa Claus.
Now to some it may seem odd that I’d spend time talking to Protestants about a Catholic saint. But you need to know why. First of all, the real Nicholas lived from the late 200’s through the mid 300’s AD in what is now Turkey, as a Christian bishop. There wasn’t any denominational “them and us” among those who believed in Jesus, then – when Nicholas was around we were all simply Christians. He really belongs to all of us. Secondly, the thing that makes Nicholas stand out from all the rest called saints is that he wasn’t merely known for the way a person died as a church martyr. Nicholas was known because of the positive, life-affirming way he lived, following in the generous tradition of Jesus Christ.
We tend to think about St. Nicholas only in terms of the way we heard that he stuffed the childrens’ shoes or stockings with gifts. But actually he was known for much more than that. At a time when marriage was the only way a young woman could be assured of a financial future, Nicholas’s life-affirming actions included providing dowry money to poor young women whose parents could not offer one, and by so doing, he kept young women from having to turn to prostitution to survive. On other occasions, he saved prisoners from the executioner’s ax, just as they were about to be killed. Nicholas bought food and distributed to people during famines, and yes – he placed toys and fruit into the shoes of poor children when they slept as Advent progressed. He truly lived what Jesus taught. As a very young man whose parents both died, he took his inheritance and distributed it all, to those who needed it far more than himself. The Christmas spirit is distributing love to those you don’t even know.
Nicholas became so well known for his deeds that, over the course of centuries, his stories spread across the world, like Christmas fairy dust on the hooves of Santa’s sleigh, so that all countries owned him. Of course, he has always been big in Holland where Sinter Klaus was a mainstay of the season. But oddly enough, it wasn’t the Dutch who brought St. Nick to New Amsterdam and America. Rather it was fashionable 19th century New Yorkers who adopted him as the Spirit of Christmas. When Coca Cola picked up the trend and put the “Jolly Old Elf” in a signature red suit in its ads, Santa Claus was born.
So today, in this overly hectic season of getting “stuff,” my wish for us all is, whenever we see a Santa urging us to buy, that we remember it’s not about getting. It’s about giving, of love of neighbor, even love of stranger, all year round. And do remember to pour yourself a cup of egg nog and savor life as Nicholas would have done! - Pastor Pat Kriss
First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone: (203) 744-6177
Monday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thrift Shop Hours:
Friday 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m.–11 a.m.