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Advent wreath.

Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Features

Advent, the beginning of the church year, starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. It is a time of preparation, anticipation, and hope. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the "Light of the World." Epiphany on January 6, also called "Three Kings Day," is the climax of the Christmas season for Protestants.

arrow icon. Christmas and Family: Good News for Everyone 
"Christmas is a time to share with family." Our ears, thoughts, and hearts are so full of such words that we believe that without family there can be no Christmas. For those who can't physically be with our families, Christmas can be a time of sorrow instead of rejoicing.
Source: Advance
More about: Advent | Christian love | Christmas | Missionaries | Uruguay |
Date posted: Dec 19, 2008
arrow icon. Native American Writers Share
 Christmas Essays and Poems

The Native American Comprehensive Plan offers two original written works by Native American United Methodist writers from across our connection.
Source: None
More about: Christmas | United States |
Date posted: Dec 20, 2007
arrow icon. Watch Night: Taking Stock 
Farewell, honors day, moving up, Harris Memorial College. This evening is watch night. In my youth, we gathered on New Year’s Eve for the ritual of reflecting on the end of the year. Sometimes we laughed at our foolishness for not fulfilling our resolutions. Then we wrote new resolutions--hoping that this time we would fulfill them. We were given an opportunity for a fresh start.
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Christian love | Christmas | GBGM programs | United Methodist Church | Philippines |
Date posted: Dec 28, 2006
arrow icon. I Am The Lord’s Servant: Welcome Christ at McCurdy School, Advent Devotion, December 15, 2006 
Dee Dee Heffner with some of the youth of McCurdy School in New Mexico. Dee Dee Heffner has served since 1975 as a home missionary at McCurdy School, a school owned by Global Ministries. McCurdy School is one of the over 100 mission institutions related to The United Methodist Church through Global Ministries. Ms. Heffner teaches English, speech, and drama in the high school.
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Children | Christian love | Christmas | Education | GBGM programs | Jesus Christ | United Methodist Church | Youth | South Central U.S. | United States |
Date posted: Dec 15, 2006
arrow icon. The UMCOR Hotline for November 28, 2006 
UMCOR Emergency Response In Today's Hotline: --Event: World AIDS Day is Friday; --El Salvador: Celebrating Bounty; --Liberia: Ambulance Arrives in Ganta; --Sager Brown: Generators are Needed
Source: UMCOR
More about: Advent | Children | Christian love | Christmas | Communities | Donations | Ecumenical | UMCOR | United Methodist Church | Welfare | Women | Youth | El Salvador | Liberia | United States | World |
Date posted: Nov 28, 2006
arrow icon. The Erbele's Definition of Epiphany:
 The Magi, the Baptism of Christ, and Christmas

The Erbele's ministry includes congregations in Russia (top) and Lithuania (just above.) The Church in Eurasia Where else in the world and through what other type work can a Christian receive such a fresh affirmation of the manifestation of our Savior than with the re-emergent churches of Eastern Europe and Asia.
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Christian love | Christmas | GBGM programs | Jesus Christ | Missionaries | United Methodist Church | Methodism | Europe | Latvia | Lithuania |
Date posted: Jan 03, 2006
arrow icon. Not Even The Grinch! 
Tuesday morning the sun was bright and the air crisp in Bethlehem. The Church had planned a special trip for the children; every year the church council presents small gifts to the children but this year we decided to take them on a trip to the north of the country instead because many of the children had never been there.
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Advocacy | Christmas | Civil rights | Conflict | GBGM news | Human rights | Justice | Missionaries | United Methodist Church | Israel | Palestine |
Date posted: Dec 29, 2005
arrow icon. Violence and Videogames During a Season of Peace 
There has been a lot of talk around violent video games this year – from Congressional hearings to the news. When Christians celebrate the “Prince of Peace,”  religious leaders are worried that talk is cheap and parents and communities should be taking action against violence in regard to popular video games.
Source: Women's Division
More about: Children | Christmas | Communities | Violence | Women | Youth | United States |
Date posted: Dec 23, 2005
arrow icon. Environmentally Friendly and Healthy Christmas Ideas 
Save the Whales Board Game. In the last week of the Christmas shopping season – with messages of commercialization everywhere – United Methodist Women’s Green Teams have been sharing with others ways to protect and honor God’s creation.
Source: Women's Division
More about: Advocacy | Children | Environment | Women | United States |
Date posted: Dec 23, 2005
arrow icon. Yet This is God & Family at Christmastime 
Recently I received an email from Rev. Judy Dye, who serves Wauneta and Palisade UMC in Nebraska. She wrote, "The picture of being home for Christmas touches a soul-level longing within just about every one of us in every generation. The Christmas season may intensify it, but the feeling is timeless."
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Christian love | Christmas | Family | World |
Date posted: Dec 22, 2005
arrow icon. What the Shepherds Made Known 
Christmas 2005

By making known what they had seen and heard and by letting the message enter their everyday world the shepherds of Bethlehem became the first Christian missionaries. Most church Christmas pageants stop short of telling the full story of the shepherds of Bethlehem in the Nativity account in Luke's Gospel. Our plays include the angelic announcement of the birth of the Christ child. They depict the trip to the manager to see the child, but then leave out the third and fourth scenes. ... Then, the shepherds returned to their work, "glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard."
Source: GBGM Administration
More about: Advent | Bible | Christian love | Christmas | Jesus Christ | Peace | United Methodist Church | World |
Date posted: Dec 22, 2005
arrow icon. Christmas and New Year are Times for New Beginnings 
Insert:  Baby Bejtush. Main photo: Refugees encamped at the border with Greece - summer 2003 This is the time when we look back at the year that is drawing to a close and look ahead to the new year of new plans, new possibilities, and new beginnings.
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Bible | Children | Christian love | Christmas | Communities | GBGM programs | Jesus Christ | Missionaries | Peace | United Methodist Church | Macedonia-FYROM |
Date posted: Dec 22, 2005
arrow icon. Making the Connection 
Children participate in an afterschool program at Ogden Friendship House, Kansas. Have you ever wondered what you would have heard that night in Bethlehem? Would you have heard the choirs of angels singing or simply the sounds of barnyard animals shifting around? Would you have seen the star that shone brightly in the sky or would you have just seen two poor and very frightened people? Would you have understood the silence in the air of the divine presence or would you just felt the chill of the night air? How would you have understood the message of Emmanuel, God with us, or would that evening just have passed you by?
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Children | Christian love | Christmas | Communities | GBGM programs | Jesus Christ | Missionaries | United Methodist Church | South Central U.S. | United States |
Date posted: Dec 21, 2005
arrow icon. Bible Study: Prepare the Way of the Lord 
A mosaic of Mary and Jesus by Indian artist Balan is in the Matridham Ashram in Varanasi, India.
“Prepare the way of the Lord...”                          Matthew 3:3b

With these words, John began a short career proclaiming the long-awaited Messiah was coming. His message was not new -- just delivered in a new way. People of his day recognized it as the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Prepare the way of the Lord.”
Source: Women's Division
More about: Advent | Bible | Jesus Christ | Women | Men | Egypt |
Date posted: Dec 19, 2005

arrow icon. Christmas is a time to Love – Family, Neighbors and Strangers 
December is a joyful month when Christians celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thousands of tourists have come to New York City, where I live, to look at the beautiful store windows on Fifth Avenue and enjoy the yuletide spirit. One the other hand, some of us New Yorkers take to the road. I, myself, look forward to visiting my sister and her two-year old son, Jeremiah, whom I love him very much. He is a happy little fellow; I learn much about the lessons of love through patience in understanding how he as a toddler learns what is possible.
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Christian love | Christmas | Communities | GBGM programs | Jesus Christ | Peace | United Methodist Church | Pakistan | United States | World |
Date posted: Dec 19, 2005
arrow icon. How Christians in China Celebrate Christmas 
Ms. Yan Ronghui The General Board of Global Ministries, in cooperation with the China Christian Council, sponsors five theological students from the People’s Republic of China for graduate and doctoral study at four theological seminaries in the United States.
Source: Mission Contexts and Relationships
More about: Advent | Christian love | Christmas | Communities | Education | GBGM programs | Jesus Christ | United Methodist Church | Partners/partnerships | China |
Date posted: Dec 16, 2005
arrow icon. A Strong Connection and a Reason To Celebrate: the Russia Initiative 
The United Methodists in Russia love to celebrate. This year the partying begins on the Catholic Christmas on December 25, continues through the New Year on January 1, 2006, and includes the Russian Orthodox Christmas on January 7, 2006.
Source: Evangelization and Church Growth
More about: Advent | Christian love | Christmas | Communities | Education | GBGM programs | International affairs | United Methodist Church | Partners/partnerships | Methodism | United States | Russia |
Date posted: Dec 16, 2005
arrow icon. Response Article: Resilient In Bethlehem 
Rev. Alex Awad is a United Methodist missionary and pastor working in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The Christian community in Bethlehem is celebrating Christ’s birth this year with a determined sense of hope and enthusiasm. The streets around the Church of the Nativity, which have been damaged and have witnessed pain in the last few years, have been repaired, renovated and decorated with ornaments shining against the darkness of harsh political realities.
Source: Women's Division
More about: Advent | Children | Communities | Conflict | Economy | Jesus Christ | Violence | Palestine |
Date posted: Dec 16, 2005
arrow icon. Mississippi youth take Christmas spirit to evacuees 
Brightly wrapped packages are just part of the Christmas scene. United Methodist youth made sure some survivors of Hurricane Katrina don't miss out on at least that part of Christmas this year.
Source: United Methodist News Service
More about: Christian love | Christmas | Communities | Emergencies | Natural disasters | UMCOR | United Methodist Church | Youth | South Eastern U.S. | United States |
Date posted: Dec 15, 2005
arrow icon. Children in New York, Bethlehem, exchange Christmas cards  
Several months ago, the children at St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist Church in New York City wondered: What would happen if they sent Christmas cards to Palestinian Christian children in Bethlehem?
Source: United Methodist News Service
More about: Advent | Children | Christian love | Christmas | Communities | International affairs | Jesus Christ | Missionaries | United Methodist Church | Partners/partnerships | Methodism | Israel | North Eastern U.S. | Palestine | United States |
Date posted: Dec 15, 2005
arrow icon. The UMCOR Hotline, December 13, 2005 
UMCOR Emergency Response In Today's Hotline: Sierra Leone: Community Based-Health Care Zimbabwe: Feeding the Hungry Liberia: Fields Ripe with Hope Christmas with UMCOR
Source: UMCOR
More about: Christian love | Christmas | UMCOR | United Methodist Church | Liberia | Sierra Leone | Zimbabwe |
Date posted: Dec 13, 2005
arrow icon. Missionary Minute: Fourth Sunday in Advent
 December 18, 2005

When I was a toddler, my father was killed in crossfire between the Israeli and Jordanian armies. One good thing to come from the tragedy was my mother’s revived commitment to the Christ she experienced as a student in a Christian school. As a result, I was practically raised in the church.
Source: Advance
More about: Christian love | Communities | Education | Missionaries | United Methodist Church | Advance | Partners/partnerships | Palestine |
Date posted: Dec 12, 2005
arrow icon. Light in the Middle of the Tunnel
 Advent is a Time for Peace

The town of Bethlehem surrounded by a wall. When the prophet Isaiah proclaimed the advent of Emanuel coming in human flesh, he portrayed it as a "great light" from God coming to people who were groping in "the land of the shadow of death" or what some may call the center of a dark tunnel. In that darkness there was no peace, but rather, the fear of death and destruction. Isaiah described this light that permeated the middle of the tunnel with these words: ...
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Christian love | Christmas | Communities | GBGM programs | Human rights | International affairs | Jesus Christ | Justice | Missionaries | Peace | United Methodist Church | Partners/partnerships | Israel | Palestine |
Date posted: Dec 12, 2005
arrow icon. Remembering “the Principle of Giving” at Christmastime 
Jerri and Bill Savuto. As most of you know, our job is to increase awareness and the needs to support UMC missionaries and mission projects. But in our travels over the past month, we have been encountering something called "giver's fatigue." We have had some cancellations and are experiencing churches saying, "No, please don't come" because of "giver's fatigue." Pastors are concerned about asking any more of their congregations. With the Tsunami and hurricanes and all, they say, it's just been too much.
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Christian love | Christmas | Donations | Jesus Christ | Natural disasters | United Methodist Church | Partners/partnerships | Tsunami | World |
Date posted: Dec 12, 2005
arrow icon. Narnia: The Film, Its Message, and Its Contradictions 
As Disney releases The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion,  the Witch and the Wardrobe this week, and expects record box office profits, The United Methodist Women’s Division wants its one- million members to view the movie.  But it also wants members to question the overt commercialization and contradiction to the story’s theme.
Source: WD Press Releases
More about: Children | Conflict | Jesus Christ | Women | United States |
Date posted: Dec 07, 2005
arrow icon. A New Creation 
Dr. Janice Love, deputy general secretary for the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church What a year 2005 has been! Long-standing signs of our inhumanity reared their ugly heads in new, bold ways. The war in Iraq stalled into a quagmire of horrifying consequences. Prosecuted badly from the start by our political leaders, this confrontation was always a matter of choice, not a last resort as required by the classical just-war doctrine.
Source: Women's Division
More about: Advent | Advocacy | Natural disasters | Peace | Women | United States |
Date posted: Dec 05, 2005
arrow icon. The Chicken Pox Incident:
 How God Answered Prayers One Night in Zimbabwe

Well, it's official. I have become an overprotective mother hen. Three of my favorite boys here are HIV positive, and I find myself following them around all the time saying things like, "It's cold outside. Where are your patter- patters (flip-flops)? You need to be wearing a hat. Why are you coughing?"
Source: Mission Volunteers
More about: AIDS/HIV | Children | Christian love | Communities | GBGM programs | Health | Missionaries | United Methodist Church | Volunteers | Zimbabwe |
Date posted: Dec 05, 2005
arrow icon. Unexpected Joy!
 Advent is A Time of Joy

Joy! Can you manufacture joy? Is it possible to force someone to be joyful? If not, nobody told the Psalmist! He outright commands people to be joyful throughout much of his book of songs and psalms. Psalm 100, for example, reads, “Shout for joy to the Lord!”
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Christian love | Christmas | Communities | Missionaries | United Methodist Church | Cameroon |
Date posted: Dec 05, 2005
arrow icon. Missionary Minute: Third Sunday in Advent
 December 11, 2005

As the new chaplain of the Crandon Institute in Uruguay, I began planning with many ideas in my head. I was discovering new ways of doing my ministry among the students, especially among the teenagers. I knew this would not be easy.
Source: Advance
More about: Christian love | Missionaries | Youth | Advance | Uruguay |
Date posted: Dec 05, 2005
arrow icon. Advent Reflection:“Birthing You into Leadership” 
Kyung Za Yim, president of the Women's Division As Christians prepare for the birth of the Messiah, Kyung Za Yim, president of the Women’s Division, offers this reflection on leadership roles of women in the name of Jesus Christ.  Are you willing to take a role in mission with women and children on behalf of our Savior?  In preparation for the birth of Christ, reflect on what it means to be a midwife for children in the midst of harsh realities.
Source: Women's Division
More about: Children | Jesus Christ | Women | United States |
Date posted: Dec 02, 2005
arrow icon. A Bishop's Advent message in 2005 
The stories continue to spill out regarding individuals and communities impacted by this fall's season of earthquakes and hurricanes. One that stays with me particularly is about the destruction of Gulfside, a United Methodist retreat center in Waveland, Mississippi. It is a place of particular importance to our African- American brothers and sisters.
Source: UMC Annual Conferences/Jurisdictions
More about: Advent | Christian love | Christmas | Communities | Emergencies | Mission opportunities | Natural disasters | United Methodist Church | Advance | United States |
Date posted: Dec 01, 2005
arrow icon. Word Pictures from Sierra Leone and Kenya 
View of part of Freetown, Sierra Leone from the top of a neighboring hill. I live and work in the capital city Freetown. The United Methodist presence in Sierra Leone is well established through churches, schools and medical clinics. In Freetown, Kissy Eye Hospital and Kissy Maternity and Health Center, including a new surgical wing, provide exceptional care to the people of this city.
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Children | Christian love | Communities | GBGM programs | Health | Missionaries | United Methodist Church | Partners/partnerships | Methodism | Sierra Leone |
Date posted: Dec 01, 2005
arrow icon. 'Sharing our Corn'
 Advent is a Time of Hope and Solidarity

United worship in a rural area of Guatemala where Eunice Arias and Luis Aramayo serve as missionaries. Luis was closing a workshop with pastors and leaders of the Iglesia Evanglica Nacional Metodista Primivita de Guatemala (the Methodist Church of Guatemala). He asked them to share their new insights about the issue of stewardship. A simple, true and very biblical answer came forth – “Stewardship is to share our corn”.
Source: Mission Personnel
More about: Advent | Christian love | GBGM programs | Missionaries | United Methodist Church | Partners/partnerships | Methodism | Guatemala |
Date posted: Nov 28, 2005
arrow icon. Missionary Minute: Second Sunday of Advent December 4, 2005
In the year 2000, I faced a big crisis in my life and my family. My father was seriously ill. Amid the depression and the confusion, I gave my life to God and put my trust in God.
Source: Advance
More about: Christian love | GBGM programs | United Methodist Church | Advance | Mission updates | Japan |
Date posted: Nov 28, 2005
arrow icon. Missionary Minute:
 First Sunday of Advent, United Methodist Student Day
November 27, 2005

Diane Abbott, a translator, and the Rev. T. Mark Abbott, a professor, both serve the United Evangelical Theological Seminary, Madrid, Spain.
Source: Advance
More about: Ecumenical | Missionaries | United Methodist Church | Women | Advance | Mission updates | Spain |
Date posted: Nov 16, 2005
arrow icon. UMCOR's Christmas Wish List 
Two boys pump water.Lists have become a Christmas tradition for many: children’s Christmas lists, Christmas card address lists, shopping lists, a busy holiday season “to do” list, and others. UMCOR’s Christmas list offers tangible ways you can show the indescribable love of God to hurting and struggling people in the world. Through your generosity, you and United Methodists everywhere can respond to Christ’s command to feed the hungry, care for the sick, comfort the heartbroken, and welcome the stranger in our midst.
arrow icon. Advent and Christmas Features on UMC.org
An offsite link to more stories and resources.
arrow icon. sample from Advent calendar.Advent Calendar 
(This link will open an offsite PDF of about 1.5M.)
Each year Rev. Thomas Mousin and Rev. Merry Watters of Troy Annual Conference create a thought-provoking devotional calendar. The link and graphic above will take you to the pdf file of the full calendar on theTroy web site.