A Weekly Newsletter
Thought for the Week
Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
Let Earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room!
And heav'n and nature sing!
I can be pretty hard-nosed about Christmas music. I don't want to hear it before Thanksgiving - I certainly don't want to hear it at Halloween - I don't want a hippopotamus for Christmas, and I am strongly opposed to any version of Sleigh Ride that includes people singing. That being said, once we hit Advent I'm very content to click over to my "Swingin' Christmas" and "Classical Christmas" Pandora stations.
And, just as there are songs I dread hearing, there are a handful of Christmas tunes that I have to hear and if they come on the radio when we're getting out of the car, well that's just too bad, because we're listening to it.
Although I don't recall any instance where I have heard Joy to the World on the radio, it is definitely one of my favorite Christmas hymns and one that has to be included in my holiday celebrations.
I have very vivid memories of watching our VHS copy of Disney's Very Merry Christmas Songs as a child. Thanks to YouTube I can re-watch this familiar video and enjoy the flashes of memory that pop up with every song, but I have always remembered, for whatever reason, the Joy to the World portion of the video which featured dancing ice-fairies and snowflakes.
My favorite part of Christmas worship is the candle-lighting to Silent Night and transitioning from that quiet hymn into this loud, happy hymn of joy. To this day, my sisters and I sing "and-heav'n-and-na-ture-sing" in a very over the top staccato style we picked up from some version we'd heard and it never fails to make me smile. No matter how much of a Scrooge you were, there was no way to leave the last 15 minutes of Christmas worship and not feel happy about the holiday.
This song has been uplifting Christmases since the 18th century. From his teenage years, an Englishman named Isaac Watts complained about the "dull indifference, the negligent and thoughtless air" of hymn singing in church. (In that time, hymns were often word-for-word singing of the Psalms.) Eventually his father got tired of hearing the complaints and challenged him to write something better. Watts took the challenge and went on to write the early versions of many well-known English hymns.
Watts did not want to erase the traditional singing of the Psalms, he just wanted them to have more emotion. He wanted the hymns to be familiar, easily and naturally used in church - not forced or restrictive. His contemporaries were confused and alarmed - how could Joy to the World be Psalm 98? The whole Psalm was missing!
After many arguments and conflicts, Watts' songs won out. When his words of pure, excited joy were combined with a tune adapted from Handel, a Christmas classic was born. And now, almost 300 years later, I can't imagine a Christmas without it.
As we get closer to Christmas we seem to become less joyful. There is so much to be done at work or at school before you can have a little time off. Christmas shopping is hard, says the person who hasn't even started working on her list. Picking out the perfect gift for everyone takes time, time that I don't seem to have! Hosting anyone - family or friends - around the holidays is stressful. You have to be on your best behavior at all times or you'll be a story for the next holiday gathering.
Holidays aren't supposed to be like that. They go by too quickly for us to risk missing a parade or holiday party because we HAVE to go pick up that one thing RIGHT NOW.
Relax. Take some time to pull out your favorite Christmas tunes and enjoy the season! You will finish your work, you will find your gifts, and your parties will be great.
Christmas is almost here!
Friday Evening Schedule
- High School Lock-In begins, 7:00 PM (Youth Room)
Saturday Morning Schedule
- High School Lock-In ends, pick up from 8:00-9:00 AM (Youth Room)
Sunday Morning Schedule
- Middle School Sunday School, 9:15 AM (Youth Room)
- High School Sunday School, 9:15 AM (Stephen Ministry Room off Dale Hall)
- Confirmation, 9:15 AM (Room 102)
- Contemporary Worship, 11:00 AM (Sanctuary)
** High School Sunday School: Please note the room change! **
Sunday Evening Schedule
- High School Praise Team, 5:30 - 6:30 PM (Sanctuary)
- Middle School Youth Group Christmas Movie, 5:00 - 6:30 PM (Youth Room)
- Middle School Praise Team, 6:30 - 7:30 PM (Sanctuary)
- NO HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH GROUP
High School: Friday, December 12 - Saturday, December 13
Middle School: Friday, January 15 - Saturday, January 16
High School Youth, CLICK HERE for information about this week's lock in!
Middle School Youth Group
Because there is Praise Team rehearsal, we will still have pizza!
Youth Outside MPC
Need a good laugh?? Then you should go check out #ImprovGate at Penncrest High School and look for MPC's resident comedian, Chase Dungan! The show is Wednesday, December 16 at 7:00 PM in the high school auditorium.
Are you involved in a show, sport, or other activity and you want to share with your MPC family? Contact Liz!
This event is open to the community and we hope to see many of your faces!
Join us at 6:30 PM in the sanctuary and share in the joy of the Christmas season!
Thanks to your hard work and the generosity of our congregation, we were able to net $870! That money purchased gift cards for the 18 young women and their children supported by the Chester YoungLives!
We are thrilled to be able to provide some extra Christmas joy to these young families!
All Angels and gifts for the Angel Tree need to be returned to the sanctuary by the end of the 11:00 worship on Sunday, December 13!
On Christmas Eve, we are going to line the walkway to the church with white luminaries to invite all who pass by our doors to join us in Christmas Eve worship! We will be assembling these luminaries during Youth Group but we will need two volunteers for each worship service to light the candles inside!
If you'd like to help light these candles before any of the Christmas Eve services, see Liz!
Christmas Eve Worship Schedule
- 5:00 PM: Children's Christmas Eve Service
- 7:30 PM: Family Candlelight Service
- 9:30 PM: Communion Candlelight Service
This is a special time of year for the Church. Come spend it with us!
- Friday, December 11
High School Lock-In begins - 7:00 PM (Youth Room)
- Saturday, December 12
High School Lock-In ends - 9:00 AM (Youth Room)
- Sunday, December 13
Grief Support Group - 6:00 PM (Room 103)
No High School Youth Group
- Saturday, December 19
Praise Team Rehearsal - 11:00 AM (Sanctuary)
- Sunday, December 20
Children's Christmas Pageant - 11:00 AM (Sanctuary)
Christmas Concert - 6:30 PM (Sanctuary)
No Youth Group (due to the Christmas Concert)
- Tuesday, December 22
The Longest Night: A Service of Remembrance and Healing, 7:00 PM (Sanctuary)
- Thursday, December 24 - Christmas Eve
Children's Christmas Eve Service - 5:00 PM (Sanctuary)
Family Candlelight Service - 7:30 PM (Sanctuary)
Communion Candlelight Service - 9:30 PM (Sanctuary)
- Sunday, December 27
Combined Worship Service - 10:00 AM (Sanctuary)
No Youth Events (Sunday School, Confirmation, Youth Group)
Youth Program of Media Presbyterian Church
The Youth Ministry programs at MPC has long been a place that welcomes teenagers to embrace their questions and their struggles with faith in a healthy and safe environment.
The Youth Program is led by Ms. Liz Remelius, Director of Youth Ministries. Liz nurtures a deep love of education and believes that there is "a divine beauty in learning." She hopes that anyone who participates in MPC's Youth Ministry will be equipped to ask questions, search for answers, and turn that knowledge into action, both in the Church and the world.