Advent


Click HERE to download a printable brochure of upcoming Advent opportunities. Simply print two-sided and fold in thirds!


I Believe Even When…
Advent & Christmas 2020

Learn about the Advent & Christmas worship series with Bible verses and Children’s Time info HERE.


Christmas Eve Worship

December 24, 2020
4:00 PM Livestream

(available on YouTube and social media after livestream)

Christmas Eve will be a very different experience for us all as we keep social distance and reinvent holiday traditions. The same is true for our worship experience with our St. Paul’s family. On Christmas Eve, worship will be online only, live-streamed at 4:00 pm. We will then load the recording of the service to our webpage, social media platforms, and YouTube channel so that is available to you and your family at any time during the Christmas Eve evening and night.

  • Worship includes Holy Communion—please have your bread and cup ready for the liturgy of Great Thanksgiving in the service. It would be a wonderful Christmas Eve daytime activity (or a day or two leading up to Christmas Eve) to prepare a favorite or new bread item.
  • During the reading of the Christmas Story, we will light the candles of Advent and the Christ candle. If you are using a home Advent wreath, have it ready with a lighter for this portion of the service. 
  • Worship will close with the singing of “Silent Night” and a reinvented lighting of the Christmas Eve candles. It will feature images of our beloved church family, all who call St. Paul’s home, holding lit candles. Have your picture taken with a lit candle during the Luminary Path Journey (see below) or send in a picture taken at home to be part of this beautiful video and singing of our beloved hymn.
  • Christmas Eve candles are available at the Luminary Path Journey and for pick up the week leading up to Christmas.

The Giving Tree

Especially during a pandemic, the needs across our community and world continue.  This year, St. Paul’s Local and World Missions team is offering you an opportunity to make a special holiday gift through a virtual Giving Tree.  Simply click a link and make your gift! Your special Christmas giving makes a difference in the lives of many people, during these difficult times.  Please consider prayerfully how you might be able to help these extraordinary organizations:

  • Racker: supporting children with special needs
  • St. John’s Community Services: supporting persons who are homeless
  • Ithaca Sanctuary Alliance: supporting immigrants and refugees
  • Agua Viva Serves: supporting clean water supplies in Costa Rica

Opportunities to Fill Your Life with Light & Love (and some music):

Film Festival: The Power of Music in the Midst of Difficult Times

We have four recommended films with devotionals, a tribute to the power of music to transform lives. Most videos are available through Amazon, either with Prime membership or for a small rental fee. If cost is a factor for you, please speak with Pastor Teressa. We can ensure you have access to the movie. The four featured films are:

  1. Defiant Requiem (learn more at https://www.defiantrequiem.org)
  2. Girls on the Wall (Please be advised that this film has very strong language. We encourage all to embrace the language as an act of deeper love and listen for greater understanding. Don’t dismiss too soon.)
  3. Following the Ninth (free on YouTube)
  4. Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice!
  5. The Singing Revolution (to watch and follow devotion on your own)
  • Individual Devotions: Download the individual devotional guide HERE. Watch each movie and move through the devotion.
  • Weekly Group Discussions: Join with Pastor Teressa and fellow Advent travelers as we discuss each week’s movie. The discussion group will meet each of the Sundays of Advent (11/29-12/20) at 2:00 PM ET via Zoom. Download the the group devotional guide HERE.
  • Family Film Festival: Download the film festival guide for families HERE or see each week’s posting on SPUMC Families Facebook Group. Turn holiday favorite children’s shows into encounters with God. Fun for children of ALL ages. Featuring:
    • Charlie Brown Christmas – Hope 
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated version) – Love
    • Frosty the Snowman – Joy 
    • The Muppet Christmas Carol – Peace 
    • The Polar Express – Believe

Light of the World Book Group
Mondays November 30 – December 21 from 7:00-8:30 PM ET via Zoom

Join by computer HERE
Meeting ID: 822 9198 6801

The stories of Advent are grounded in the Jewish faith, especially in themes of exile and return, promise and fulfillment that link ancient Israel with the new movement that came to be known as Christianity. In her book, Light of the World, Jewish scholar of the New Testament, Amy-Jill Levine, looks at the Advent stories through the lens of Jewish prophecy and practice, giving us greater insight into the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon and Anna, and the Magi. You are invited to participate in a zoom group based on Levine’s book and led by Pastor Debbie. Copies of the book will be available on Pastor Teressa’s side porch. If you are able, a check for $15.00 may be sent directly to the church, but you are welcome regardless of payment. Please contact Pastor Debbie at dallen@stpaulsithaca.org if you wish to participate.


A Blue Christmas Service
Sunday, December 6 at 4:00 PM, both in-person (dependent on county case numbers) and online

The Blue Christmas Service is a worship service that acknowledges that the holidays can be a difficult time for many people. The service of scripture, prayer, light and music seeks to meet us where we are, offer comfort and safe space, and help us encounter hope. The service will be available here on our website after December 6 so that we may worship with it as needed over the Advent and Christmas season. 


Advent Traditions Videos

We want to know what makes the Advent season special to you! While a lot may be different this Christmas, our traditions can help us find comfort and joy during Advent. You’re invited to share a favorite Advent tradition on our YouTube channel! Email your video to communications@stpaulsithaca.org (please record your video horizontally for optimal viewing!).


Walking the Luminary Path

As we approach Christmas Eve, you are invited to a meditative time walking a luminary-lit path through our beloved sanctuary. Along the path will be devotional moments, scripture on which to meditate. The journey leads us to the altar and manger where we may light a candle as an act of prayer and love. Our hospitality ministers will greet you and ensure that all safety protocols are followed. Only a few people will be on the path at any given time and will be safely distanced. Dates, times, and reservation links will be shared soon. Watch Sunday announcements and bi-weekly emails for details.

  • At the altar before you exit the luminary path, have a hospitality minister take a picture of you with a lit Christmas Eve candle. We will collect as many pictures as possible for a beautiful “Silent Night” video for Christmas Eve.
  • As you exit, you may also pick up Christmas Eve candles for Christmas Eve worship.
  • If you aren’t able to walk the Luminary Path, you may take a picture at home of you/your family with a lit candle and send it to Pastor Teressa for the Silent Night video. And Christmas Eve candles are available for pick up the week leading up to Christmas Eve.

Spotify Christmas Playlist


Thomas Mousin Advent Calendar

Each day offers a scripture reading and a suggested devotion. Download from the website HERE (you can even color it in as you go!).


Peruse our Pinterest board for craft and decoration ideas for the Advent/Christmas season!


Watch Night Devotional Video

On New Year’s Eve, as we close 2020 and look toward 2021, you are invited to join with Pastor Teressa through a Watch Night video in prayer for the coming year. Once available, the video will be posted on this webpage and social media platforms, as well as located on our YouTube channel. Let us look with hope toward the New Year.