Advent 2023

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. —Matthew 1:21

From the Pastor

It was Martin Luther who said, “No other God have I but Thee, born in a manger, died on a tree.” Jesus, the baby in a manger, was born to the Virgin Mary. He entered our world as Immanuel, who is “God with us.” And as the angel of the Lord explains to Joseph, Jesus is born to “save his people from their sins.”
What does this mean? Jesus lays aside his glory, takes on flesh, and is:

born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.

Jesus was born to save. In the shadow of the manger, we can already see the Cross, a love that is reckless and without limits for a world hurting and lost. To be saved by Christ is to be made alive to the uttermost. Jesus became like us, as Irenaeus said so long ago, in order that we might become like him, the beloved children of the Most High God who dwell forever in praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And so this Christmas, we join our voices with the angels and archangels and the church in all time and place, singing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Draw near to the manger, and behold your salvation,

Dr. Ryan V. Moore, Pastor

Worship Opportunities


Morning Worship
December 3 & 10 | 8:30 (livestreamed) and 11:00 a.m.| Sanctuary
The 8:30 a.m. service will be livestreamed each week on YouTube and Facebook. Nursery care will be available from 8:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m., and Young Children & Worship will be offered at both services.

Christmas Music Sunday
December 17 | 8:00, 9:30 (livestreamed), & 11:00 a.m. | Sanctuary
Worship will feature brass, strings, and percussion, beloved carols of the season, and festive choral music. Because there are three worship services that morning,
there will be no education hour programming. Coffee and donuts will be available in Courtenay Hall. Nursery care will be available from 7:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m. and Young Children & Worship will be offered at all service times.

Service of Hope
December 17 | 12:15 p.m. | Stanford Chapel
If you or a loved one is going through a challenging time, join us for prayer, Scripture, Communion, and lighting candles of hope. Hosted by our Stephen Ministry. All are welcome to come and find comfort.

Christmas Eve | Sunday, December 24

Christmas Eve Sunday Worship
11:00 a.m. | Sanctuary
This traditional service will include the lighting of the Advent wreath and a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Please note that nursery and Young Children & Worship are not provided.

Journey to Bethlehem Live Nativity
5:00 p.m. (livestreamed) | Sanctuary
A lively pageant will be led by our children at this year’s 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Join shepherds, angels, wise men, and more on a Journey to Bethlehem. Please consider blessing our friends at Room In The Inn with a donation of M, L, or XL weatherproof gloves. Bring them to worship for a special offering during the children’s time!

Lessons and Carols
8:00 (livestreamed) & 10:30 p.m. (New time!) | Sanctuary
This beloved service, first celebrated in the English cathedral town of Truro in 1880, features Scripture readings that recount salvation history, with hymns and
choral anthems sung in response. Communion will be celebrated at the 10:30 p.m. service. The service culminates in the candlelit singing of “Silent Night.”


Christmas Day Worship
Monday, December 25 | 11:00 a.m. | Stanford Chapel
Happy Birthday, Jesus! Spend an hour worshiping the newborn King with your church family at this informal, relaxed service. We will enjoy some birthday cake
and children are welcome to come in pajamas.

First Sunday of Christmas
Sunday, December 31 | 11:00 a.m. (livestreamed) | Sanctuary
On Sunday, December 31, there will be only one worship service, at 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Nursery care will be available, beginning at 10:45 a.m. Young Children & Worship will not be provided.


Ceilidh and Christmas Tree Lighting
Sunday, December 3 | 4:30 p.m | Courtenay Hall
A ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is a party with music and dancing, a Scottish tradition that we’ll celebrate together with flair. There will be food, Celtic music, and Scottish country dancing in Courtenay Hall, followed by carol singing and the lighting of the Christmas tree outside the Sanctuary. Registration is not required.

First Friends Dinner & Christmas Lights Bus Tour
Wednesday, December 6 | 5:00 p.m. | Courtenay Hall | Cost: $15
First Friends will meet for dinner at 5:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m. the group will leave for a Christmas Lights Tour on the Oak Hill School bus. The bus will return to the church around 7:30 p.m. Register here.

Youth Grade-Level Christmas Parties
Sunday, December 10 | 9:40 a.m. | Gathering Place
Youth (7th-12th grade) will join others in their grade level for festivities and a white elephant gift exchange during the education hour. Bring a $5 white elephant gift (or a regift)!

Presbyterian Women Christmas Gathering
Tuesday, December 12 | 10:30 a.m. | Courtenay Hall | Cost: $20
Women of all ages and life stages are invited to join us on Tuesday, December 12, for a time of worship, music, and fellowship as we celebrate the season. Lunch will follow. Registration closes December 8. Register online here, call 615-383-1815 or register in person in Courtenay Hall on Nov. 26 or December 3.

College Christmas Gathering
Monday, December 18 | 6:00 | Stark–Gingrass Home, 1035 Tyne Blvd
College students will gather for their Christmas party at the home of Daniel Stark. RSVP to Ginger Sheppard here.

Epiphany Bonfire
Sunday, January 7 | 3:00 p.m. | South Lawn
Join your church family for hymn singing and burning of the greens at our annual Epiphany Bonfire. It’s been a tradition since Victorian England to celebrate the end of Christmas on Twelfth Night, taking down the evergreens of the Christmas season and lighting a bonfire. The greenery used to decorate for the Christmas season has served its purpose, and the bonfire from burning them celebrates the light and warmth of Christ coming into the world on one of the darkest nights of the year.

Mission Opportunities

Rise Against Hunger Meal Packing
Monday, November 20 | 3:30 p.m. | Enrichment Center
Our annual Rise Against Hunger event is perfect for families, with opportunities for anyone ages 2–102! Help us pack over 20,000 meals to be delivered to partners
around the world. To date, First Presbyterian Church members and Oak Hill School friends have held 16 events and packed 289,104 meals, the size of a full shipping container! Register here.

Christmas Toy Drive
Collecting gifts November 12–December 3
This Advent, FPC will be holding a Christmas gift drive for children in need, infants through age 12. Collection boxes will be in the narthex and the lobby of the administrative wing. Toys should be new and unwrapped.

99th Annual Christmas Waffle Shop at Downtown Presbyterian
Thursday, December 7 | 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. | Cost: $15.00 in advance; $20.00 at the door
On December 7, our sister congregation, The Downtown Presbyterian Church, will host its 99th Waffle Shop! Enjoy waffles, a guided tour of the historic Egyptian Revival sanctuary, a silent auction, and the church’s gift shop at Downtown Presbyterian Church. All proceeds from this fundraiser will go directly to the Fish and Loaves ministry at The Downtown Presbyterian Church. Purchase tickets here. Let Annette Crout know if you plan to attend. If enough folks join, we can take the FPC church van.

Room In The Inn
Wednesdays through March
Every year from November through March, First Presbyterian Church provides shelter for men experiencing homelessness through Room In The Inn. There are a number of volunteer opportunities available this year: overnight hosts, van drivers, breakfast donors, lunch donors, and laundry volunteers. Room In The Inn takes its name from the Christmas story in Luke 2, a reminder that Jesus was laid in a manger because there was no room for him in the inn. Participating in this ministry is a beautiful way to serve Christ by serving the least of his brethren (Matthew 25:40).
In addition to food and shelter, they regularly need clothing. This Advent, we are collecting these items:

  • New only: undershirts, boxer shorts, and socks; size medium through 2XL.
  • Used or new items: light and medium-weight jackets, stocking caps, weatherproof gloves, jeans, and work pants. No slacks or dress shirts please.

Please consider blessing our friends at Room In The Inn with donations of these needed clothing items.

Please contact Annette Crout (615-298-9507 or with any questions about mission opportunities. 

Christmas Greenery Dedication

FPC’s Flower Ministry prepares the greenery that beautifies our Sanctuary during the Advent season. A greenery fund has been established to provide for these decorations. During Advent, those who make a contribution to the greenery fund may do so in memory or in honor of loved ones. These dedications will be printed in the December 17 bulletin. To contribute and make a dedication, fill out a paper form (available in the narthex or hospitality center) or complete one online here. Last day to submit a dedication is December 8.

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