Advent begins this Sunday.
There are so many things to go to and get done during this season. I know that your calendars look like a solid wall of activity from here until Christmas. We hope that the offerings we have here at St. Mary’s for you will not just be items to check off, but rather opportunities to truly prepare for the incredible joy of Christmas. 

In this newsletter you will find information about events coming up and materials offered to help us all remain centered on the gifts we have been given already, not the ones on our shopping lists.

Calendar of Events:  (download a printable calendar here)
Sunday, December 2:
  • 10 a.m.: Advent Wreath-Making in the New Parish Hall
  • 11 a.m.: Holy Eucharist Rite Two in New St. Mary's
  • 12 p.m.: Cake for December birthdays and anniversaries!
  • 5 p.m.: Lessons and Carols in New St. Mary's
Thursday, December 6:
  • 10:30 a.m.: Sort and Hang Costumes in Sunday School Classrooms
Sunda y, December 9:
  • 9: 30 a.m.: Parish Breakfast in the New Parish Hall
  • 10 a.m.: Music Rehearsal and Sunday School classes for children ages 4 years old through 5th Grade.
  • 11 a.m.: Holy Eucharist Rite Two in New St. Mary's
Thursday, December 13:
  • 10:30 a.m.: Fluff and Iron Costumes in Sunday School Classrooms (please bring an iron or steamer and an ironing board)
Sunday, December 16:
  • 10 a.m.: Music Rehearsal and Sunday School classes for children ages 4 years old through 5th Grade.
  • 11 a.m.: Holy Eucharist Rite Two in New St. Mary's
Wednesday, December 19:
  • 5:30 p.m.: Parish Supper
Saturday, December 22:
  • 9:30 a.m.: Pageant Rehearsal for ALL participants
Sunday, December 23:
  • 10 a.m.: Music Rehearsal and Sunday School classes for children ages 4 years old through 5th Grade
  • 11 a.m.: Holy Eucharist Rite Two in New St. Mary's
Monday, December 24, Christmas Eve:
  • 4 p.m.: Children's Lessons and Carols with Holy Eucharist in New St. Mary's
  • 7 p.m.: Holy Eucharist Rite Two in New St. Mary's
  • 11 p.m.: Holy Eucharist Rite One in Little St. Mary's
Tuesday, December 25, Christmas Day:
  • 10 a.m.: Holy Eucharist Rite One in Little St. Mary's
Advent Wreath Making Day
Advent Wreath Making Day
Sunday, December 2
10 a.m. New Parish Hall
Cost: $15 per wreath

Please plan to cut some greens from your yard and come join in the fun of making Advent wreaths with others in our community. We provide an oasis form, candles and a prayer booklet for you to use at home.  Can’t wait to see you there!
Advent Lessons and Carols this Sunday
Those of all ages are invited to join us for an Advent Service of Lessons and Carols this Sunday, December 2 at 5 p.m. in New St. Mary's. It is one of the most meaningful and moving expressions of our great liturgical tradition. Come listen to readings from the scriptures that anticipate the coming of Christ that are coupled with choral music telling of God's promise of salvation. St. Mary's choir is one of the finest choirs in our area. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience their gift of music and to raise your voices in song with them. 
Advent at Home
This year to help you celebrate Advent at home we have two different tools for you to use at home. Advent in a Mason Jar is a resource that has tags to pull out from the jar daily (or whenever you can)! There are tags with prayers for each week of Advent, conversation starters, ways to connect, and ways to get moving.   The other resource is a small daily Advent calendar with prayers and ideas to help share the season with your family and others.
Preparing for the Advent Season
There are a million sites that provide lists and advice on how to “get it all done” during the Christmas season.  If you are looking ahead and want to think about ways to slow down and center more on the mystery and gift of Christmas this year, Amelia highly recommends looking into the Giving Manger concept.  Here is a site that offers a way for families to more intentionally prepare for Jesus’ birth.  You do not have to purchase a giving manger to use the concept in your home. We will have our own Popsicle stick mangers available on Sunday, December 2 during the Advent Wreath Making day festivities at 10 a.m. in the New Parish Hall .
Grab an Ornament from the Giving Tree
The Giving Tree is now up in the Dover Lounge! St. Mary's offers the opportunity to provide Christmas gifts for five families from the Goochland Christmas Mother.  Please grab an ornament or two with the gift needs on them. There are only a few left! The gifts will be collected by Sunday, December 9.

How to participate:
1. Choose an ornament from the tree with a wish you can help fulfill and sign it out on the board.
2. When purchasing the wish, please be sure to get a gift receipt.
3. Return the gift wrapped with the ornament and gift receipts attached under the tree in the Dover Lounge.
Donate Items to the Clothes Closet Drive
GoochlandCares Clothes Closet drive begins this Sunday ! Throughout Advent, St. Mary's is collecting clean, gently used or new items for infants, children, teenagers, and adults. Collection boxes are located in the New Parish Hall. A list of needed items can be found on the table in the Café area. Please bring them in by Sunday, December 16. For further information or if you have questions, contact Ashley Cameron .
Christmas Eve Children's Lessons and Carols
Children's Lesson and Carols with Holy Eucharist
Monday, December 24, 2018
4 p.m. Service
3:30 p.m. Arrival for participants
Nursery is available for infants - 4 years old during the service

The Christmas Eve service is one of our most beloved traditions at St. Mary’s.  The Children’s Lessons and Carols is held on Christmas Eve at 4 p.m.  This year we will follow the retelling of the story of Christmas with a Holy Eucharist. There will be several stations for communion as we do for Easter. Again this year, a Birthday Party for Jesus will follow the service in the New Parish Hall. 

To sign up your child and to volunteer , follow this link .

Music Rehearsal
Continuing on Sunday, December 9, the kids practice the pageant music as part of Sunday School. The more they are able to practice, the more comfortable they are and the better all of us are able to hear them at the service. Please try to attend as many Sunday morning practices as possible. But you can also rehearse with your kids at home! Here are links to the songs that you can practice together:
The Friendly Beasts (verses about the donkey, the cow, and the dove)
O Come, all ye faithful (vs. 1-3, 6)
O come, o come Emmanuel (vs. 1-2)
O little town of Bethlehem (vs. 1-3)
Angels we have heard on high (vs. 1 & 3)
The First Nowell (vs. 1-2)
We three kings (vs. 1-4)
Silent Night

On Christmas Eve
Our service will look a little different this year.  Instead of the children waiting in the wings to come in during the pageant they will be seated with their families.  That means that you should arrive at 3:30 p.m. to get your child in costume.  Then you all will head into New St. Mary’s to get a seat. As the service moves along, there will be points when each of the groups of characters will be asked to come forward to join in the scene taking shape. The bulletins will be clearly marked when they are to join in the action, and they will be guided along.  This way all the kids really get to SEE the whole pageant and participate in the WHOLE story.   

At the conclusion of the pageant the kids will return to sit with you and we will all have Holy Eucharist together to celebrate the birth of our Savior. There will be many stations for communion as there are on Easter Sunday so this will not be a long process. The whole service should really be about the length of an average Sunday morning service.  Following the service everyone is invited to come to the New Parish Hall for a Birthday Party!  There will be mini cupcakes for all!