Advent events

There are a number of Advent events and services occurring this year at Indianola First UMC and YOU are invited to attend!

Everyone is welcome to First UMC, and especially during this time of the year.

To the left is a comprehensive calendar for your reference, and we sincerely HOPE that you'll join us during this holiday season.

An All-Church study

This year, Pastors Tim Bonney and Brian Williams will lead the church through an all-church devotional journey. Sermons, activities and a Wednesday night study group has been derived from the

Advent Devotional - A Thrill of HOPE.

Below are a number of resources you can use throughout the month to connect with other Advent participants and grow in your faith.

A Thrill of Hope

Hope is a word we see sprinkled throughout messages of the holiday season on Christmas cards, coffee mugs, and candles. But what is hope, really? Optimism? Positive thinking? Blind faith? What if hope were something more than any of these something not only thrilling but life-changing?

In a world that feels weary and uncertain at times, A Thrill of Hope offers us a powerful understanding of God s promised hope in the person of Jesus. Ideal for churches, small groups, or personal reflection, this 4-week Advent devotional invites individuals and communities to pause, breathe deeply, and wait for the new and glorious morning revealed to us in Christ.

A creative, Lectionary-based study, A Thrill of Hope was written by respected authors and pastors such as Dan Boone, Carla Sunberg, Jon Middendorf, Tara Beth Leach, and more. Together, they invite us to hear the good news: the Spirit of hope lives in us all!

blue Christmas Service

A familiar holiday tune instructs us to "be merry and bright" this time of year. Yet, for some, the holidays aren't so full of light.

If you are struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, you're not alone. While some are feeling the peace and joy of the season, others are missing a loved one, struggling at the end of a rough year, or just feeling blue.

Whether it's  the weight of mental illness or seasonal depression, the mess of broken relationships, the loss of a loved one, or simply the sadness that comes from being human in this world--this is a space for you. We will encounter the journey through darkness, acknowledge the confusion and pain it brings, and gently point toward the light of Jesus Christ.   


Advent 2019 supplemental materials

We hope you find the following materials useful in following this year's all-church Advent Study!

  • Advent 2019 Scripture Bookmarks

    Each Sunday of Advent you grab the week's daily Advent scriptures to follow along, or you can print out your own here. Note: Adobe Acrobat is necessary.

  • A Thrill of hope - Weekly quote

    Each Monday we're posting a weekly quote that relates to the messaging for that week's Advent Study. If you'd like, click on the image, and you can download and print an 8.5 x 11 sheet with all four quotes for this year!

  • A Thrill of hope - Weekly Prayer

    Each Thursday we're posting a weekly prayer that relates to the messaging for that week's Advent Study. If you'd like, click on the image, and you can download and print an 8.5 x 11 sheet with all four prayers for this year!

What is Advent

The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning "coming" or "visit," begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the church year for Christians.

During Advent, we prepare for and anticipate the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for and need of forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.

Although we are accustomed to celebrating Christmas on a single day, in both Christian tradition and on the church calendar, the Christmas season lasts from sundown on Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve) through Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 6). This is sometimes referred to as "the 12 days of Christmas."

Advent begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. In 2019, Christmas falls on a Wednesday, and Christmas Eve on Tuesday night. Thus, in 2019 Advent begins Sunday, Dec. 1, and ends at sundown on Tuesday, Dec. 24 three weeks plus almost two days. If Christmas comes on a Sunday, Advent will begin on Nov. 27 and lasts four full weeks.

The color for Advent has traditionally been purple, although some churches have adopted blue. In practice, however, as churches increasingly incorporate the symbols and decorations of Christmas during Advent, more and more red, green and gold are appearing. The United Methodist Book of Worship upholds the traditional color of purple for Advent, signifying penitence and royalty, but also allows blue, the color of hope."

Adapted from "What is Advent?" and "Understanding Advent" by Dean McIntyre, retired director of music resources, Discipleship Ministries.

Originally published in Interpreter Magazine, November–December, 2017.