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United Church of Christ
National Site

285 West National Drive
Newark, Ohio 43055
(740) 323-2407


Pastor's message

2017 November message

By the time you receive this issue of “The Chimes”, people will already have begun to decorate for Christmas. How many of you remember when you almost never saw Christmas decorations until AFTER Thanksgiving? I like it better that way. How about you?

That being said, it’s always a good time to THINK about decorating. What part do you like best? Putting up the tree? Putting on lights and ornaments? Hanging garlands and wreaths? Displaying the nativity set? If your answer is yes to one or more of these, then mark your calendars for our annual “Hanging of the Greens” on Sunday, Nov. 26th at the 8:00 and 10:30 services.

As we did last year, our intent is to decorate the trees, hang the garlands and put out the nativity sets while we worship. And once again, the pre-decorating will be done the day before on Saturday morning.

It’s never too early to “Prepare the way of the Lord!” (Mark 1:3) There is a timelessness to the “Hanging of the Greens” that transcends the seasons.

“Why do we do it? What does it mean?” asks the Rev. Annette Taft Fraser.

It is a custom predating Christ when people would bring indoors, green boughs and branches to sustain them during the dark days of winter without electricity. This carried through to the Christian era. This meant homes, stores, churches would do much to decorate with evergreens. Remember the church always led the way in the community and not the reverse.

So for hundreds of years, the church has led the way with the remembrance of Christ’s incarnation through the evergreens in the church. At this time we prepare for the one who has come, whom we expect to come, who has come into our lives in numerous ways in various times and places, and the One who will come again. We prepare our hearts. We make room again for the Messiah.

As a kid, I never complained about the “Wish Book” coming too early. And I didn’t waste any time making up my Christmas list.

When it comes to decorating our church, we are all kids at heart. So let’s get excited about our Hanging of the Greens service on November 26th. Oh and by the way, since Bethlehem Marketplace will be happening the following Sunday, Dec. 3rd, we will be receiving hundreds of guests into the sanctuary.

So, let’s do an extra good job of “decking the halls” to get everyone into the spirit of the season!

Rev. Mark Katrick