Advent & Christmas
The season of Advent is essentially a season of preparation. We prepare for Christmas by decorating our homes and trees, we bake cookies and wrap gifts, we host parties and enjoy the company of family and friends. Advent is also about preparing our spirits for the birth of Jesus into our lives and the world.
At AHCC, the four Sundays of Advent (Hope, Peace, Joy, Love) are celebrated in various ways depending on the Annual Advent theme. The fourth Sunday of Advent, Christmas Sunday, is a large, festive service, with special music for choir and various instrumental ensembles.
Advent events and opportunities can include:
- Women’s Advent Retreat
- Longest Night Service on the winter solstice
- The opportunity to purchase poinsettias which decorate the chancel on the second Sunday of Advent and then gifted to a person or family in need of a holiday lift.
- The opportunity to purchase gift cards for the Angel Tree, which are sent out to local organizations serving children/teens and their families.
We encourage you to check the church calendar for the complete listing of our Advent services and events.
Christmas Eve Worship
On Christmas Eve, AHCC celebrates the birth of the Christ child with three distinctly different services:
- An outdoor Live Nativity (4:30pm) in the church’s parking lot is a hit with the young and the young at heart as it boasts live animals! This is a casual service and we invite you to dress for the weather and bring your own chair.
- AHCC’s traditional Candlelighting Services (8:00 & 11:00pm) in the sanctuary includes music from the sanctuary choir and instrumentalists, carols and anthems, prayer and scripture, a message of hope and the lighting of the Christmas candles.
Lent & Easter
Lent is the 40 days (not including Sundays) from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday before Easter. Lent is often described as a time of preparation and an opportunity to go deeper with God. This means that it’s a time for personal reflection that prepares people’s hearts and minds for Good Friday and Easter.
What are the key days during Lent?
- Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. You may have noticed people with a smudged, black cross on their foreheads. The ashes symbolize our grief for the things we’ve done wrong and the division of imperfect people from a perfect God.
- Palm Sunday is when we recall Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the throngs who gathered to greet him, waving palms and spreading their cloaks out in front of him.
- Maundy Thursday is the day before Good Friday and the time when Christians commemorate the Last Supper. The word Maundy comes from the Latin “mandatum” or “command” and refers to the instructions Jesus gave to his disciples: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
- Good Friday is the day Christians remember Jesus’ death. We are invited into the depths of human suffering and remember all that Jesus endured, even death upon cross.
- The week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is called Holy Week.
At AHCC, Lent and Holy Week are celebrated through worship services, special musical offerings, and other events. We encourage you to check the church calendar for the complete listing of our Lent and Holy Week services and events.
Easter Sunday Worship
Sunrise Service at Elizabeth Park Overlook (corner of Prospect and Asylum Avenue). Scripture says that on the third day a group of women arrived at the tomb while it was still dark. Celebrating the resurrection of Christ we gather to watch the sunrise over the horizon and proclaim the Good News of that indeed, He Lives!
The Easter service in the AHCC sanctuary is a celebratory worship service where the symbols of death are cast aside and the light of the resurrection shines forth in hymns of praise, words of hope, and fabulous music! Oh, and Easter lilies galore!