Newsletter for December, 2021

December Devotion: Christmas Music

“When do you start listening to Christmas music?” That’s a question that you read quite often on social media in the days leading up to December. Some answer that question by saying that they don’t really begin listening to Christmas music until maybe the week before Christmas. Some, of course, say that they hate it and don’t want to listen to it at all. There are a couple of people I know who will listen to Christmas music all year long. (They don’t listen to it exclusively, mind you, but they will put some Christmas tunes on from time to time in the summer.)

I would have to say that I’ll at least start listening to Christmas music when the 24/7 Christmas stations start playing it (right around the end of October and the beginning of November). However, by the time the first of December hits, I’m listening to almost nothing but.

Some of my fondest memories of childhood Christmases are listening to our family’s Christmas albums. Like a lot of people of my generation, we had the holiday albums that would be given out as promotional items from tire companies like Goodyear and B.F. Goodrich. My childhood Christmases were set to the music of Julie Andrews, Perry Como, Andy Williams, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Of course, I also remember learning the Christmas hymns for our Christmas Eve services while growing up. I started with “Away in a Manger” as a preschooler and worked my way up to “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” as an eighth grader. I distinctly remember a sense of relief when I reached eighth grade thinking: “Well, I’ll never have to do THAT again!” Oh, how I miss those days!

Since I never was much of a singer (or at least thought very little of my singing ability) when I was in high school, I did the very minimum when it came to the vocal requirements. I was a part of the compulsory chorus, never the elective choir. Still, we had a couple of amazing music teachers at Martin Luther Prep School in Prairie du Chien who coaxed even us unsure singers into halfway decent performances of the Hallelujah Chorus and “E’en So, Lord, Quickly Come.” (The latter is one of the most beautiful Advent chorales I’ve ever heard. Look it up on YouTube.) I have a recording of MLPS choirs from that era and absolutely love listening to it now.

Forgive me for this trip down memory lane. But my love of the music of Christmas is a deeply imbedded one. The reason that I love that music so much is that the beauty of the music of the season reminds me of the beauty of what our God accomplished through his Son whom he sent as the greatest gift of all time. The music of Christmas speaks of the beauty and joy that Jesus brought into this world when he deigned to leave his home in heaven to make his home in that lowly stable and on the dusty roads of Galilee and on the rugged cross of Calvary and in the empty tomb in the garden. As I hear the music of Christmas, I can’t help but think of the hymns of glory and majesty that we will sing in Christ’s presence for the sake of his great gift to us.

In thinking about Christmas music, I can’t help but think of the words of Paul in the fifth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians: “Be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

May your Christmas be one filled with the joy and comfort of the Christ Child. May he make you sing for joy even through the challenges that you face in life.

–Pastor Joel LIllo

Christmas Brunch

After taking a year off for the pandemic, the Women’s Group would like to have a Christmas brunch this year. It has been scheduled for today, December 5, after the service. Did you forget to bring a dish to pass? Well, you can blame Pastor Lillo who didn’t emphasize it enough. You are more than welcome to come, anyway. There is always more than enough food.

Christmas Film Festival

For our Christmas Day service this year, we are taking a look at how the secular world observes Christmas. In anticipation of that, we are going to be having a different kind of “film festival” this year at church. On the three Mondays in December leading up to Christmas, we are going to be showing Christmas movies that are secular in nature, but show how the message of Christmas can change lives.

On December 6, we will be showing the 1951 version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This is, in the opinion of many people, the very best and most complete cinematic version of this short novel. In it, we see how the spirit of Christmas changes Ebenezer Scrooge from a miserly skinflint into someone filled with a generous spirit of love.

On December 13, we will be watching two television specials: A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Each of these lovely short tales shows how Christmas brings joy to the world.

Finally, on December 20, we will be watching Home Alone. When people think of that movie, they usually think of the crazy slapstick that takes up the last third of the movie. There is a very sweet heart to this movie, though. That’s seen especially in the relationship that develops between Kevin (the boy who is home alone) and the “scary” older man in the neighborhood. All are invited to come to these showings. Your are more than welcome to invite your friends and relatives to these movies as well. We will be talking a little bit at each showing about how the true meaning of Christmas brings true change and meaning to our lives.

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Christmas Concert

The choir is eager to present their annual Christmas Concert, performed twice on the second Sunday in December to several thousand guests.

Concert date and times
  • December 12, at 3 and 7 p.m. at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary located at 11831 N Seminary Dr, Mequon, WI 53092

More about the choir

Whenever they travel, the men of the Seminary Chorus are eager to talk about the work they do to prepare to serve as pastors. In many ways, their stories are the same: they attend the same classes and study the same subjects. But their stories are also very different. Whatever their backgrounds, they are anxious to meet the people who support them with prayers and gifts. They would be honored if you came to hear them sing the story of the one who loved us all, Jesus our Lord.

FVL Christmas Concert

The FVL Choirs invite you to attend their annual Christmas concert on Sunday  December 19 at 4 PM. The concert is free and all are invited to join with the choirs as we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus. It will also be livestreamed on the FVLHS YouTube Channel.

Christmas Eve Service

We will be having our Christmas Eve service on Friday, December 24, at  3:00 PM. This year, we will be taking a close look at the Advent/Christmas wreath and what it tells us about the way in which God sent his Son to the world and how he changed everything through him. This will be (primarily) a song service in which we will join in singing the favorite hymns and carols. We are hoping to have some participation by our young people in this service as well. What better way to begin your celebration of Christmas than to come together to give thanks for God’s gift of the Christ child and to offer up our hymns of praise?

Christmas Day Service

We will be joining to celebrate the birth of our Savior on Saturday, December 25, at the regular service time of 8:30 AM. This year, we will be looking at how the world observes Christmas and how that is an opportunity for us to bring the world the message of the gospel. In the sermon, we will be taking a look at such customs as decorating a Christmas tree, giving gifts, supporting charity, and watching out for Santa Claus. This will be a communion service. The original intention of this Holy Day (Holiday) was to remember the price that Jesus intended to pay for our sins from the moment he entered into this world. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper (sometimes called the mass, hence the name of the festival — Christ’s Mass) is something that has been an integral part of celebrating this festival throughout most of the history of the Christian Church.

New Year’s Day Service

New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday this year. In light of that, we will be celebrating New Year’s Day at church on Sunday, January 2, 2022. The passing of this last year isn’t seen as nearly as monumental as the passing of the year 2020. However, this past year has had its share of blessings and challenges. We join in thanking God for getting us through the challenges and making the blessings even more special. This year, we will be looking at the famous passage from the book of Ecclesiastes: “To everything there is a season; and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Since it is not only a New Year’s service, but also a service on the first Sunday of the month, this service will be a communion service.