Christmas Eve Service Times

This year, Christmas Eve is on a Sunday! We will have one service in the morning, at 10:00am in the Sanctuary, to celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent. The service will include a special musical presentation of Dan Forrests’s “Jubilate Deo” with choir, soloists, and orchestra.

In the afternoon and evening, we will hold our usual Christmas Eve services. Come prepare your heart for the miracle of the Christ child at the service that best fits your schedule.

Traditional family services: 3:00pm & 5:00pm
Contemporary family service: 7:00pm
Candlelight services: 9:00pm & 11:00pm

Infant care (ages 0–2) will be offered in the nursery during the 3:00, 5:00, and 7:00pm services. Children are invited to join their families in the service.

Mexico House-Building Trip, April 7–14, 2018

Come on one of Los Altos UMC’s Mexico trips and put your faith into action! The next trip is scheduled for April 7–14, 2018. We will build simple two-room houses for working people in Tecate. This trip will change your life as you get to know and fall in love with the people of Mexico who live and work in conditions very different from ours.

No power tools are used and no prior experience is necessary, so these experiences are great for the whole family. You don’t have to participate at Los Altos UMC to come on the trip: if you are interested, you are welcome!

Download the trip overview, FAQs, and registration form or pick up print copies of the informational flyers and registration form in the church entry or Creekside lobby. Completed registration forms and deposits are due January 3, with later registrations accepted if space is available. Financial assistance is available from the Mission Trip Scholarship Fund; please review the scholarship criteria and then submit the application form. For more information, contact Leslie Carmichael.

The Longest Night: A Service of Solace, Dec. 18

On the threshold, come through the door to what matters after a year of bad news, disasters, anxieties, pain, and sadness. For many of us, the days leading to Christmas are not filled with joy and celebration as much as feelings of sadness or longing. If this sounds familiar, or if you simply want a peaceful space, we invite you to join us for a candlelight service of reflection on Monday, December 18, at 7:30pm in the Sanctuary. The service will be led by Pastor Cate Noellert and our Congregational Care Ministers.

This service is for those who need a place where they can be welcomed into the season exactly as they are, without having to put on a holiday face. It is also a service for anyone who would appreciate a little calm, reflective time of peace and worship in the midst of the hectic pace of the season. God comes to us wherever we are—even in our grief, even in our pain—and there is a place for you in this season, too. Refreshments follow the service.

Childcare is available by request to Megan Carroll (650-948-1083) by December 10.

Advent Generosity: A Voice in the Darkness

Advent is often the busiest time of the year, and it is a challenge to make time and space to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. This Christmas, choose a radical approach not just to Christmas giving, but to your holiday preparations and celebration of Christ’s birth. Advent Generosity provides a simple yet effective way to be “a voice in the darkness,” sharing God’s love by making monetary gifts to three worthy causes and by participating in service.

Support These Causes

Consider donating to LAUMC’s Advent Generosity campaign on behalf of your friends and family. Or, ask family and friends to make a donation in your honor instead of purchasing a gift for you. By making one donation to Advent Generosity 2017, three worthy programs will be supported:

Hope’s Corner, Inc.: For the past six years, Hope’s Corner, Inc., has provided nourishing meals and showers to people in need in the Mountain View area. Hope’s Corner is the only local source of free meals on Saturdays for the homeless and needy. Advent Generosity giving will help Hope’s Corner expand its food service, twice-weekly shower program, and additional services for more than 250 weekly guests. With your help:

  • $100 buys a hand wash sink with soap and towel dispenser
  • $500 buys epoxy coated, corrosion-resistant shelving for a walk-in refrigerator
  • $1,000 buys a commercial coffee brewer
  • $5,000 buys a mobile hot food serving counter

Compassion Week 2018: Church and community members have an opportunity to put their faith into action, engaging in worship by performing acts of loving service and social justice. During Compassion Week 2017, more than 2,000 volunteers donated more than 6,000 service hours to perform projects addressing poverty, homelessness, education, the environment, hunger, veterans’ needs, prison support, and more—locally and worldwide. With your help:

  • $50 buys comfort item materials for 7 women going through chemotherapy treatments
  • $100 buys the supplies to fill 10 UMCOR health kits for fire and hurricane victims
  • $500 feeds 100 veterans waiting for important surgeries at the VA Hospital
  • $1,000 buys Rise Against Hunger meal kits to feed 1,360 people on the brink of starvation

Response to 2017 Natural Disasters: A fund for LAUMC’s 2018 mission trips in response to 2017’s U.S. and international disasters. This fund will be available to supplement and provide scholarships for hands-on mission work in, for example, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, and California. With your help:

  • $50 buys 128 sq. ft. of drywall
  • $100 buys five rolls of insulation
  • $500 buys one volunteer’s round-trip airfare
  • $1,000 buys 1,000 sq. ft. of composition roofing shingles

Service Opportunities

Habitat for Humanity: On December 16, an LAUMC team will be working with Habitat for Humanity at its Fremont Commons building site. Space is limited; please sign up on the Habitat website.

Project WeHOPE: On December 21, LAUMC will host a dinner at the Project WeHOPE shelter in East Palo Alto. There are opportunities to shop for ingredients, prepare food at LAUMC, serve dinner at Project WeHOPE, and share a holiday meal with brothers and sisters who are working to end their homelessness. Contact Jan McDaniel to sign up.

How to Participate

Pick up an Advent Generosity envelope in the Sanctuary, Creekside, or the church office starting November 20. When you choose not to buy an unnecessary gift or decide to forgo a Christmas related goodie, place the money you save in the envelope. Return your envelope to the church office or place it in the offering plate on or before Christmas Eve. (You may donate cash or make checks payable to Los Altos UMC with Advent Generosity on the memo line.) You may also donate online or by texting AG and your gift amount to (650) 229-5200. On Christmas Eve, credit card readers will be available at church if you’d like to put your donation on your credit card. In addition, the offering taken at our Christmas Eve services will go toward our Advent Generosity recipients!

If you pick up Advent Generosity materials at church, gift cards are provided so that you can let your family and friends know you have made a donation to Advent Generosity 2017 and/or have performed a service on their behalf.

Festival of Carols & Lights, Dec. 9

Festival of Carols & Lights 2012Christmas comes to life with words and music at our annual Festival of Carols & Lights concert celebration on Saturday, December 9, at 5:00pm and 7:30pm. Join us in the Sanctuary or watch either performance live online. This year’s theme is “Voices in the Darkness: Do Not Be Afraid.” Our worship choirs (Chancel Choir, Morning Glory, Lightshine, and Starfire Singers) and Creekside Worship Band will be joined by an orchestra as the Sanctuary is filled with the music of familiar carols, Christmas anthems, and readings that will fill your heart with the joy of the holidays.

Let Christmas come to life with the music of the season, and let the Festival of Carols and Lights be a part of your celebration of the mystery and wonder of Christmas. A free-will offering will be taken. Childcare is available during both performances in the nursery.

Do Not Be Afraid: Advent Worship Series

Our December worship and sermon series is “A Voice in the Darkness: Do Not Be Afraid.” The angels that appear in the story of Jesus’ birth would have been very comfortable in our world of tweets and hashtags. Their messages were short and to the point. And every message began with the same words: Do not be afraid, even in the darkness. All through Advent, our sermons will mine the angels’ messages to Zechariah, Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, and the magi for what they say to us. You are invited to worship with us this season and consider where you can confront the darkness in your own life with #morehope, #morepeace, #morejoy, #morelove, and #morelife.

December 3: Make Ready a People: #morehope – Luke 1

December 10: He Will Save His People: #morepeace – Matthew 1:18-25

December 17: Nothing Is Impossible: #morejoy – Luke 1:26-56

December 24*: This Will Be a Sign: #morelove – Luke 2:1-20

December 31*: Get Up and Go: #morelife – Matthew 2:1-23

*Note: There will be one morning service on December 24 at 10:00am. On December 31, morning services will be at 8:30am and 10:00am and a Watch Night Service at 5:00pm.

Advent Small Groups

GroupLife has scheduled two short-term small groups to meet during Advent to discuss excerpts from the Advent devotional and/or weekly sermons. All are welcome to participate.

  • Tuesdays (December 5, 12, and 19), 10:00–11:30am in the Resource Center, led by Jan McDaniel
  • Thursdays (December 7, 14, and 21), 7:00–8:30pm in the Resource Center, led by Bob Olah

Growing deeper together is how we do life in all seasons! Please contact grouplife@laumc.org with any questions.

Homemade for the Holidays, Dec. 2

All ages are welcome to make Advent wreaths on Saturday, December 2, 2:00–4:00pm in Creekside Center. Participate in a community service project, and learn about the true meaning of Advent. Light refreshments will be served. Please consider bringing a new, unwrapped gift for a child (ages 1–18) for donation to Hope’s Corner, where parents with limited means will be able to “shop” for Christmas gifts for their children.

To help defray the cost of the Advent wreath materials and refreshments, we are asking for a $20 donation. Please register online by Sunday, November 26, so that the organizers can purchase sufficient wreath-making materials.

Advent Devotional

The GroupLife Team is providing an opportunity to grow deeper during Advent this year with a daily devotional written by LAUMC folks of all ages. The Advent devotional offers a scripture, reflection, and prayer for each day of Advent.

Print booklets are available at church, or to receive a daily email with the devotion, text the word ADVENT and your email address to 650-229-5200.

Thanksgiving Eve Service

You are invited to one of the most heartwarming services of the year at Los Altos UMC. On Thanksgiving Eve, falling this year on Wednesday, November 22, at 7:30pm, our two youth choirs, Lightshine and Starfire Singers, will lead us in worship through song. Pastor Dirk Damonte will share the message.

Thanksgiving Food AltarPlease bring nonperishable foods; the collected food will be donated to Community Services Agency to feed hungry families and individuals in our community.