First Congregational Church, UCC
Wolfeboro, NH
Sunday, December 20, 2020

Advent 4: Joy
As we move through these weeks of Advent,
I encourage you to setup an Advent wreath at home--
simply four candles will do!
Each Sunday, we will invite you to light a new candle on the wreath.
Here are devotional resources for the season...

Advent Equity Challenge:
Join us for a different kind of Advent devotional this year- an Advent Equity Challenge! Each week will consist of 4 short assignments to watch, read and listen on the topic of racial equity that can easily be accomplished during the week. Thoughtful and brave conversations will happen over Zoom on Sunday mornings (our last one is today!) from 9:00-10:00 a.m. (Zoom link will be in the "Weekly Happenings” e-mail that came out last night, also the same link that we use for Fellowship!). If you can’t attend on 11/29, but would like to know more, contact Krista Marschner (

A collaborative challenge with All Saints Church, we invite you to engage in an active Advent by reading a piece of Scripture each day, reflecting upon it, and sharing via your favorite social media. We ask that you share in one (or more) of three ways:
  • Listening: Share a link to a song that the daily reading stirs
  • Reading: Share a brief written memory or thought
  • Visualizing: Share a photo or short video
Whatever your response is, do share it with the hashtag: #WolfeboroAdvent2020
on your site(s) and feel free to post on your congregation’s site(s) as well.

A Family Advent:
Christian Nurture has put together Advent bags for our families and youth. They include some fun activities, and a daily Advent challenge especially for our youth and children.

Printed Resources:
These Days and Draw Near (from the Still Speaking Writers Group)
You can pick-up a hard copy of these in a plastic container tucked inside the covered stairway by the parking lot doors at church. Or be in touch with Krista and she will mail you one.
Following the Ninth:
In the footsteps of Beethoven's final symphony
(click below to watch the whole documentary or the trailer)
Full Film

Isaiah 7: 1-14 (CEB)

In the days of Ahaz (Jotham’s son and grandson of Judah’s King Uzziah), Aram’s King Rezin and Israel’s King Pekah (Remaliah’s son) came up to attack Jerusalem, but they couldn’t overpower it.

When the house of David was told that Aram had become allies with Ephraim, their hearts and the hearts of their people shook as the trees of a forest shake when there is a wind. But the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the channel of the Upper Pool, by the road to the field where laundry is washed, and say to him, ‘Be careful and stay calm. Don’t fear, and don’t lose heart over these two pieces of smoking torches, over the burning anger of Rezin, Aram, and Remaliah’s son. Aram has planned evil against you with Ephraim and Remaliah’s son, saying, “Let’s march up against Judah, tear it apart, capture it for ourselves, and install Tabeel’s son as its king.” But the Lord God says: It won’t happen; it won’t take place. The chief of Aram is Damascus; the chief of Damascus is Rezin (in sixty-five more years Ephraim will be shattered as a nation); the chief of Ephraim is Samaria; and the chief of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you don’t believe this, you can’t be trusted.’”

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: “Ask a sign from the Lord your God. Make it as deep as the grave or as high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I won’t ask; I won’t test the Lord.” Then Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Isn’t it enough for you to be tiresome for people that you are also tiresome before my God? Therefore, the Lord will give you a sign. The young woman is pregnant and is about to give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel.

Matthew 1: 1-25 (CEB)

Many, many years ago there was once a man named Abraham, 
married to a woman named Sarah. 

“2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron...” 

And so the generation went, father to son, mother to daughter, and they were people: good and bad, kind and cruel, Israelite and foreigner. 

“Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David.” 

The line continued, person to person, from the King all the way down to the commoner, in the land of Israel and out, to Babylon and back, until finally: 

“ Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. 

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.” 

And so it was, forty-two generations they waited, from Abraham to Mary. They waited and passed along the promise: that one day a messiah would come, the Prince of Peace, the one who would bring light and life and hope to all the people of the world. 

And so it was, forty-two generations they waited, from Abraham to Mary.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly.

As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:

Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son,
        And they will call him, Emmanuel.
(Emmanuel means “God with us.”)

When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he didn’t have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. Joseph called him Jesus.

Please remember to send in your offering, as you are able.
We are still checking mail at the post office, and our counters are still making deposits. Many of our expenses continue.