The ADVENT THEME FOR 2022 at OPPC is “From Generation to Generation.” Our theme is a call to action: what are we at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church being called to generate or bring forth? What have your ancestors and those who have come before you passed on for you to continue? Who are the spiritual elders in your community who planted the seeds for the things that are now blooming? What seeds are you planting for the future?
From Generation to Generation… reminds us of the ways our lives, histories, actions, and stories are interconnected and woven together. In the midst of narratives, policies, and rhetoric designed to divide us, what does it look like to practice belonging to one another? The work of God is always unfolding, in and through us. This Advent season at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, how will we carry it forth?
This year’s OPPC ADVENT DEVOTIONAL is Come, let us adore him. This beloved Advent refrain captures the heart of the season. Advent is for adoring Jesus. It is a season of preparation to ready our hearts for the glory of Christmas Day as we celebrate the coming of the eternal God in our frail humanity. These twenty-five short devotional readings from John Piper aim to help you keep Christ at the center of the Advent season.
The first Sunday of Advent is on November 27th 2022 with service starting at 10:00 a.m. and finds OPPC starting the generation-to-generation series with Matthew’s genealogy. Matthew 1:1-17 | Isaiah 2:1-5
In that long list of names, we remember the trauma and triumph of those who came before; each name holds a story and their story gives way to Christ’s story. When you zoom in, you may not be able to see how each character propels the story forward, but when you zoom out, you can see how each story is woven together into a larger tapestry. The Isaiah passage illustrates a convergence of opposing groups and identities coming together. Instead of the way of the past—of war—they learn a new way by transforming their weapons into gardening tools. What are the old paths that we’ve followed, and where must we diverge into a new way?
OPPC’s Intergenerational Advent celebration: Sunday November 27th 2022, starts at 11:10 a.m. After service we hope you will gather with us for fellowship and snacks in the Lounge. Our theme for Advent is Generation to Generation. One of the ways the church honors the generations that proceed Jesus is through the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is a way of preparing for Advent by journeying through the stories on Jesus’s family tree. Each day of Advent, read a Bible story about someone on Jesus’s family tree and hang an ornament symbolizing the story on your Jesse Tree. As you decorate your tree, you’ll see how God prepared for Jesus to be born through many generations.
The decoration of the Jesse Tree details stories from the Old Testament; the generational stories that lead us to Jesus’ birth. On the 27th, each congregational home will be provided the resources to create a Jesse Tree and the daily devotional that accompanies each of the stories.
The second Sunday of Advent, December 4th 2022, with service starting at 10:00 a.m. find Orchard Park Presbyterian Church realizing that God meets us in our fear. Luke 1:26-38 | Isaiah 11:1-10
When the angel Gabriel comes to Mary, she is perplexed and confused—and no doubt, afraid. And yet, the angel’s news is: “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid. We hear this refrain all throughout the Christmas story and remember it is the most common phrase in all the bible. From generation to generation, God shows up in the midst of our fear and uncertainty and confusion. From generation to generation, faithful people have said “yes” despite apprehension. From generation to generation, our ancestors in faith have accepted the invitation. The prophecy in Isaiah paints a vision of what we work toward when we say “yes”: righteousness and equity reign, the wolf lives with the lamb, no harm or hurt shall destroy the earth, a child shall lead the way.
On the third Sunday of Advent at OPPC, December 11th, 2022, with service starting at 10:00 a.m. OPPC finds ourselves figuring out that we can choose a better way. Matthew 1:18-25 | Isaiah 35:1-10
As far as Joseph knows, his new wife has been unfaithful to him and broken their marriage contract. And yet, instead of punishment, he chooses not to publicly disgrace or humiliate her. This interruption in his life becomes a holy invitation when the angel comes to him in a dream and says, “Do not be afraid.” When he awakes, Joseph once again has the courage to choose a better way. He chooses to stay with Mary, to become an adoptive parent. He chooses peace over violence, grace over condemnation. When have our ancestors also chosen a better way, and when have they not? Isaiah 35 is a vision of what happens when we choose a better way: the wilderness blooms, water breaks forth in the desert, eyes are opened, ears are unstopped, sorrow and sadness flee away. A highway shall appear and it will become a holy way.
As Orchard Park Presbyterian Church continues the celebration of Advent. We will be hosting our Christmas Cantata on December 11th at 10:00am. This year’s Christmas Cantata will feature a piece called Festival of Lessons and Carols, by John Leavitt.
The Sanctuary Choir has been joining forces with members of various orchestras in our community since about 2004. Over the years OPPC has presented large works by composers and arrangers old and new, well-known and lesser known featuring both traditional carols for the Christmas season, as well as newly-composed works. Cantata Sunday gives the choir an opportunity to lead the congregation in worship in a very unique and spirit-filled way, which always leaves the congregation feeling inspired and full of Christmas cheer. The goal, of the music director, is if someone isn’t yet in the Christmas spirit upon arriving for the service, by the time the final note is played they should be bursting with the joy of the season. One thing that has always made cantatas presented at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church special is that these large-scale works are offered within the context of Sunday worship. It’s not entertainment. Tickets are not sold. It is not a concert. The music ministry of OPPC feels very strongly that these large works are presented during this special time of the liturgical year to elevate worship and help the congregation prepare for the celebration of the Nativity during what can be a very hectic time of year. If you’ve yet to experience cantata Sunday at Orchard Park, make Dec. 11th a Sunday not to miss this year!
After the Cantata, a Christmas Cookie Reception will be held at 11:10 a.m. We hope you bring your favorite Christmas cookie as we celebrate this year’s Advent theme of generation to generation. We will have plenty of cookies, coffee, and hot cocoa and hope to have you join us!
December 18th, 2022 at OPPC is the fourth Sunday of Advent with service starting at 10:00 a.m. On this advent day, Orchard Park Presbyterian Church finds us seeing God in each other. Luke 1:39-45; 56-58 | Luke 1:46-55
As we return to Mary’s experience. After receiving the news from the angel, she retreats to her cousin Elizabeth’s house. When Mary arrives (perhaps unannounced), Elizabeth doesn’t just welcome her—she is filled with the Holy Spirit and speaks a blessing upon Mary as her own child leaps and kicks within her womb. She sees how God is at work and names it out loud. In this moment of profound solidarity, Mary and Elizabeth see the divine in one another. From generation to generation, we can see how God is at work in our relationships. The way we see the divine in each other impacts how we live and move in the world. When we view every human being as a child of God, we generate a different world.
OPCC’s celebration of Advent continues with the Children’s Program during service on December 18th at 10:00 a.m. They will be performing The First Christmas, by Teresa Jennings and Karl Hitmann.
December 24th, 2022, Christmas Eve at OPPC. As the Generation-to-Generation Advent Celebration makes its way toward the end we find the people of Orchard Park Presbyterian Church willing to tell this story. Luke 2:1-20
CHRISTMAS EVE: December 24th worship schedule.
7:00 p.m. Lessons and Carols
11:00 p.m. Communion and Candlelight
Christmas Day! December 25th, 2022 with service starting at 10:00 a.m. At Orchard Park Presbyterian Church along with many throughout the world on this wonderous day, we have found that God dells with us. John 1:1-14 | Luke 2:15-21
On this most glorious of days, we hope that you join everyone here at OPPC for our Christmas morning caroling service: December 25th, Worship at 10:00 a.m.
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us…” (John 1:14a). Unlike the other gospels, John’s gospel offers us a cosmic glimpse of Christ’s birth. Christ’s beginning was with God, therefore, Christ has been with us since life began. On this Christmas Sunday, we celebrate the many ways God dwells with us from generation to generation, since the beginning of time. Like Mary pondering the angels’ message in her heart, we invite you to dwell in your worship, perhaps embracing stillness, contemplative practices, creativity, and prayer. In the fullness of this season, come dwell with God—in silence or in song, in prayer or in stillness.
Last but certainly not least, in our Generation to Generation Advent season we come upon Epiphany. OPPC’s Epiphany service on January 1, 2023 with service starting at 10:00 a.m. has the people of Orchard Park Presbyterian Church keep seeking. Matthew 2:1-12 | Matthew 2:13-23
The Magi were seekers. They sought wisdom, they sought the divine, they sought fortunes to tell the future. Their seeking leads them to Jesus, the newborn king of another culture and religion. And yet, their seeking is also what protects them from Herod’s deception and harm. After the Magi go home by another way, Joseph is visited again by an angel in his dream. This time, the angel brings a warning, and like before, Joseph heeds the message. Fleeing from Herod’s massacre, Joseph and Mary seek refuge in Egypt; they remain there, living as immigrants, until Herod dies. Like the Magi, may we seek the divine and be willing to journey closer to God. Like the Holy family, may we seek safety for all families who are under threat. This new year and every year to come, let us keep seeking—wisdom, justice, and a better world.