I always think of the tradition we had for the First Sunday of Advent at Dahlonega Presbyterian Church while I was growing up. In place of a more traditional sermon all worship attendees participated in sharing the living Word of God through decorating the Chrismon tree.

I fondly remember as a little girl skipping down the center aisle of the church, selecting an ornament that had as much shimmer and shine as possible, and then proudly standing at the microphone to read the description of the beautiful Chrismon. Each member of the church family came forward telling the story through proclaiming the JOY of the season.

A small selection of the new Chrismons our FPC family made for the Sanctuary this year!

I cherish those memories as a child marking the beginning of a season of wonder and expectation that Christ the child is born!

When our world is hard, when days are long and cumbersome, when our bodies and spirits are weary, it proves challenging to see JOY, be JOY, experience JOY. Thus, we need one another to remember the joy! So this Advent season we will join in the rituals of our faith – telling the story of God with us – and in doing so explore the question – How does a weary world rejoice? 

We acknowledge our weariness. 

We find joy in connection. 

We allow ourselves to be amazed. 

We sing stories of hope. 

We make room. 

We root ourselves in ritual. 

We trust our belovedness. 

Click below to read our scripture for this season.

Luke 1:5-2:20

How does a weary world rejoice?

Joy is often a companion to many other emotions. We can feel joy in addition to feeling many other things at once: grief, anticipation, anxiety, excitement, disappointment, exhaustion. Perhaps many of us live with the myth that joy is not something we deserve—or that it is wholly out of reach. But our joy is rooted in the truth that we belong to God. Can you tether yourself to that deep truth? You deserve to feel joy—fully.

The world needs your joy, even if you are weary.

Our joy is better when it is shared. 

And so, this Advent, we will hold space for our weariness and our joy. We will seek a “thrill of hope” in our hurting world. We will welcome joy—even and especially if, like the prophet Isaiah, we cry out for comfort (Isaiah 40:1). In this weary world, may we find many ways to rejoice.

A Sanctified Art LLC |

Sanctified Art's reflection on the theme

From Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman, Founding Creative Partner

"I lost my grandfather (Poppa) about 10 months ago. He and I called each other soulmates. He died 17 days after my son was born. As I fell onto the floor in grief, all I could think about was the joy I would've experienced seeing them meet. Joy and grief are dancing partners. Darkness and light cannot exist without the contrast between them. 

My son and I often sit on our porch swing, and one of his favorite things is to watch the wind chimes my grandfather made twirl in the wind and sing improvised songs. The work of my Poppa's hands delights my son, and in that I find an inexplicable joy. 

Each Advent we practice rejoicing in a hope that is promised but not yet realized in a world that feels like it is breaking apart in every way. How does a weary world rejoice? I don't know. But, I think I'll start with acknowledging my weariness, finding joy in connection, allowing myself to be amazed, singing stories of hope, making room, rooting myself in ritual, and trusting in my belovedness.” 

Our Advent theme explores the days leading up to Christmas through the lens of Luke’s gospel.  

This Advent we are invited to enter Luke’s home for Christmas…

“Luke is the gospel with the most imagery that we think of at Christmastime as we decorate our own homes for the season. This is the text with the host of angels heralding the glory of God. In this Gospel, the humble shepherds in the fields are visited by the angelic messengers and are invited to go to Bethlehem to see the Christ child. Mary and Joseph end up in a lodging, due to the mass of people visiting the city, and a beautiful and humble birth scene is transformed into the inspiration for a multitude of manger scenes that have become decorations for homes all around the world. Luke’s home is full of positive emotions: the smell of delicious food being prepared, the sound of children playing, and the warmth of family gathered together. Everyone is welcome. For Luke, Jesus came to bring the kingdom of God to all people, meeting them where they are…”

Christmas in the Four Gospel Homes by Cynthia M. Campbell

This Advent, you are welcomed home as we engage Luke’s gospel as a family of faith! 

O Holy Night

“Our Advent theme of course alludes to a line in a familiar Christmas hymn, “O Holy Night,” which has an interesting story. The song was originally written by a French poet who was an atheist, and the music was supplied by a Jewish composer. The hymn was later translated into English by an American Unitarian minister. In the 1800s, it became a popular hymn for Christian abolitionists due to its justice-focused language in verse 3. Like Mary’s song (The Magnificat), the hymn reminds us that justice and joy belong together. Sometimes our joy is an act of resistance.”  

A Sanctified Art LLC |

We will sing O Holy Night on Christmas Eve this year as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Celebrating our Symbols of Advent

Advent Wreath

My family and the Advent wreath we shared with our FPC family as we livestreamed Christmas Eve from home in 2020. A Light in a weary world.

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, represents the unending love of God. Evergreens adorning the wreath symbolize the hope of eternal life that God’s people share. The four candles set in the wreath represent the four weeks of Advent until Christmas Day. The lighting of an additional candle each week in Advent marks the growing anticipation for the Light who came into the world! The candles represent hope, peace, joy, and love.


The word Chrismon is a combination of parts of two words: Chris and monogram…a monogram of Christ. They are made in white and gold. White refers to our Lord’s purity and perfection; gold refers to our Lord’s majesty and glory. The white lights point to the Christ as the light of the World. This Advent on December 10, we will share the meanings of some of the Chrismons on our tree. You will notice new ornaments on our tree this year created by our church family!

Pictures from our Chrismons workshop in November!

This Poem by Maya Angelou titled “Amazing Peace” speaks to me as we seek to experience joy, to be joy for a weary world this Advent. 

Amazing Peace

Click here to read the full poem

or you can read the excerpt below

Paisley decorating our tree in 2016!

Kately's first Christmas at 6 months old!

It is the Glad Season. 

Hope is born again in the faces of children

It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets. 

Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things, 

Even hate which crouches breeding in the dark corridors. 

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper. 

At first it is too soft. Then only half heard. 

We listen carefully as it gathers strength. 

We hear a sweetness. 

The word is Peace. 

It is loud now.

I'm curious to hear from YOU!

What are your family Advent traditions or symbols?

How do you experience Christ's joy?

What does peace in a weary world look like to you?

(I'd love for you to reply to this email and tell me!)

Know you are loved! Come home this Advent to be part of the joy at FPC!

Click here to visit our Advent page!

MaryRentz helping in the Sanctuary in 2021!

Neeley Rentz Lane
Sermon writing and worship preparations are a holy art. I prayerfully engage the living word with imagination, curiosity, and an openness for the Spirit to dance!
My hope as your pastor through “Neeley’s Notions” is to offer stories and perspectives to ignite your own imagination, curiosity, and openness to the Spirit. - this will be a periodical email offering as the Spirit leads!
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