Archive for Advent

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.

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.

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.

Not a Silent Night Advent Worship Series

Our Advent and Christmas worship series this year is taken from Adam Hamilton’s book Not a Silent Night: Mary Looks Back to Bethlehem. The series looks at Jesus’ life through the eyes of his mother, Mary, working backwards from the resurrected Christ to the birth of a baby in a humble setting. This reverse focus will help us examine the significance of Jesus’ birth through the lens of his life, death, and resurrection.

November 27: Beginning With the End
In Acts 1:8-14, Mary is named among those who formed the community of Jesus’ disciples after his ascension. Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will give the message at the morning services and Rev. Sam Lewis at the evening service.

December 4: The Piercing of Mary’s Soul
Pastor Mariellen will preach from Luke 2:33-35 at the morning services and Pastor Dirk Damonte at the evening service. Holy Communion will be offered at all services.

December 11: Amazed, Astounded, and Astonished
One of the few stories of Jesus as a child is found in Luke 2:41-51, where Jesus visits the teachers in the temple without his parents’ knowledge. Pastor Mariellen will give the message at the morning services and Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon at the evening service.

December 18: Mary, Full of Grace
In Luke 1:26-33, the angel Gabriel brings a message to Mary. Pastor Mariellen will preach at the morning services and Rev. Sam at the evening service.

December 25: It Was Not a Silent Night
This year Christmas falls on a Sunday! Come spend an hour with your church family to celebrate. We will hold one service, at 10:00am, in the Sanctuary (no evening service). Pastor Mariellen will give the message from Luke 2:1-7, the telling of the Christmas story.

January 1: Now What?
Christmas and the baby are here, the new year is here, but has anything really changed? Isn’t the world just as troubling as it ever has been? Christmas is here – now what? Rev. Sam will preach from Matthew 2:13-23. On New Year’s Day we will also have only one service, at 10:00am in the Sanctuary.

January 8: Epiphany
Pastor Mariellen will give the message, using Matthew 2:1-12.

Told You So Worship Series, Nov. 6–20

Advent is the season of preparing for the birth of Christ, and for the last few years, Los Altos UMC has used a pre-Advent worship series in November to “prepare to prepare.” The commercial holiday season comes upon us so quickly, by December 1 it seems Christmas is already here! By “preparing to prepare” in November, we set ourselves up in a better frame of mind for an intentional Advent season of true preparation.

This November, our worship series has the theme “Told You So: Preparing for the Coming of the Christ.” The book of Isaiah is filled with prophecies that point to the coming of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. In a sense, these prophecies were the Hebrews of the time “preparing to prepare” for Christ’s coming. As we prepare for our annual celebration of Christmas, how do these prophecies speak to our culture, our community, and our context today? We know what we are preparing for, or think we know. How do these prophecies help us really know what to prepare for?

November 6: God With Us. The scripture for this week is Isaiah 7:14, one of the sections that is used in the New Testament to claim Jesus as the anointed one the people were waiting and hoping for. As we prepare once again to prepare our hearts to make room for Jesus, we turn our attention back to the realization that in Jesus, God is with us. Maybe we have forgotten that. Maybe we’ve just been too busy to notice that. Maybe things have happened that make it difficult to believe that. God’s promise to the people of Isaiah’s time is still God’s promise to us today: God is with us, and we know that through the incredible gift that we are preparing for, the gift of Jesus Christ. Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will preach at the morning services and Pastor Dirk Damonte at the evening service. Holy Communion will be offered at all services.

November 13: Wonderful, Mighty, Everlasting. Isaiah 9:6 is another section of Isaiah that is viewed through New Testament eyes as pointing to the birth of Jesus the Messiah. (It is hard to read this passage without hearing the music of Handel’s Messiah echoing in our hearts!) What is amazing about this passage is these descriptions of the one God is sending: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. This one whom God sends, this Jesus, is all these things and so much more! As we prepare our hearts to realize the depth and scope of this gift from God, we see that this Messiah is a Messiah for all time, and we can put all of our trust in him. Have we done that? Have we gotten away from that? Do we doubt that? In our preparing to prepare, we reflect on the ways that God’s love lives in these attributes of Jesus. We can put all of our trust in him! Pastor Mariellen will give the message at the morning services and Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon at the evening service.

November 20: The Spirit Is Upon Us. Luke 4:16-21 tells us that Jesus himself quoted Isaiah 61:1-2, and concluded by saying “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled.” Preparing to prepare for Jesus to (re)enter our hearts and lives means recognizing that this good news, healing, justice and release comes through Jesus. John Wesley liked to go further than these two verses and point out that Isaiah goes on to include more categories of the marginalized that God’s Spirit is reaching out to. John Wesley considered this a mandate for all of Jesus’ followers. As we prepare to prepare, we are being called into deeper relationship with God’s creation through Jesus Christ. Pastor Mariellen will preach at the morning services and Pastor Dirk at the evening service.