Once Upon a Family

Advent 2023

The Advent season tends to be strongly tied to familial stories and memories. This time of year often evokes the wonder and nostalgia of family gatherings past, but for many of us, family now isn’t what family always has been, as loss and messiness can pervade. Thankfully, at this time of year, we are also called to remember and tell the story of a similarly messy family—a genealogy of sinners that led to a lowly birth in a dirty manger. And God used such a family to bring about the Savior of the world. We are called not only to remember this historically messy and miraculous family but also to be a part of a messy and miraculous family in the here-and-now: the family of God that is the Church. Engage this Advent with the family of God at 4100 Main Street.

outline drawing of a nativity scene

Once Upon a Book Drive

cream colored leather book cover with once upon a book drive written across it

When we read the Christmas story our imagination takes us to what it would have been like in that lowly manger. This year as we read through the story together, we also want to give the gift of story. Throughout Advent we will collect books to benefit our local mission partners. Bring new, unwrapped, non-Christmas books for ages 0-12 years old to church any Sunday in December. Leave them in the “Once Upon a Book Drive” box in the Welcome Center. If you’d like some inspiration for kids' books or would like to send books directly to the church, check out the Amazon link.

Advent Devotions

As we move through the Advent season and explore the complexities of the Christmas story, our Advent devotionals aim to provide you a daily reminder of the beauty that can be found in the messiness and comfort of family. You can pick up a copy of the 2023 Advent Devotion Book on campus or find the daily devotion on our blog.

green leather book cover with Advent Devotions in gold written across

Advent Playlist

Music has the power to take us to other places and put us in a frame of mind to experience things in a new way. This Advent season we have curated a playlist to help you experience the Christmas story as we move through feelings of anticipation and hope, joy, love, and peace in what is to come.


lit candle

On December 20 at 6:30 PM in Westmoreland Chapel, we will gather to offer prayers, listen to soul-restoring music, and seek God’s comfort as we remember our sorrows of this past year. Though the Christmas season is often one we connect with hope and joy, it is also an especially difficult season for those who are experiencing the pain of loss. If you wish to remember a loved one who passed away this year or in years past, this service will provide a time and space for peace and consolation. The service offers healing in the form of an opportunity to (if desired) light a candle to memorialize the loss you’ve suffered. Greg Funderburk will also offer a short pastoral message as we acknowledge our grief and seek hope in God’s presence and gracious love. Your presence is encouraged on this special Wednesday evening as you attend ongoing suffering in your life or to provide support and comfort for others.

colorful christmas trees with ornaments

Come join us as the Manna Ministry shares Christmas together with our neighbors who are homeless or hungry. We will experience Christ’s love and hope as we sing Christmas carols, share with one another, and enjoy fellowship with those with whom we’ve established meaningful friendship through our Manna ministry.

people holding lit candles

On Christmas Eve we gather for our traditional Candlelight Service which tells the beautiful and most consequential story of Christ’s birth. The compelling Old and New Testament texts we will read give us the remarkable specifics of this most remarkable story– a story of Hope, of Joy, and ultimately of the Peace placed on offer to us through our faith in the story how God so loved the world that He gave to us His only son, in the form of a child born in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago. On Christmas Eve at 5:00 PM, with music, with story-telling, with the symbol of candlelight, we’ll retell the story. Join us on Christmas Eve as we celebrate the impending arrival of Christmas.


Love Week – "Once Upon a Father"

Our journey through the Christmas story continued on the third Sunday of Advent as we focused on Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, who played his part in God’s divine saga with a sense of sacred righteousness and sacrificial love. In seeking out God’s will in a most difficult situation, he played a crucial role in how the story unfolded. As Christmas approaches, continue to seek God and listen for God’s direction as Joseph did, so that God’s will may be accomplished through you in this holy season.