Join us for Advent & Christmas 2022

Advent is a special time within the church when we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas. Through Sunday morning worship, special prayer services, and other activities at First Congregational, we hope to enrich your experience of this sacred season and give you opportunities to experience the living God in a new and vital way. Please join us!

First time visiting us? Read about what to expect at a typical service.

Worship Services

Hanging of the Greens
November 27, 10:00 AM

Lighting of the 1st Advent candle, the candle of Hope

At Advent, we enter into a 4-week season of waiting and preparing for Christ’s coming at Christmas. It’s a season of ever-greens and wreaths, of lights and colors, of gifts and sacred story. Join us on Sunday for our annual Hanging of The Greens worship service at 10 AM in the sanctuary and online and learn about these traditions in an interactive festive family service for all.


Advent Worship & Communion
December 4, 10:00 AM

Lighting of the 2nd Advent candle, the candle of Peace

We’ll worship together on the 2nd Sunday of Advent and light the Candle of Peace on the Advent Wreath as we share in Communion together and hear the sacred word preached by our new Pastoral Resident, Maeve Hammond.


Festival of Lessons & Carols
December 11, 10:00 AM

Lighting of the 3rd Advent candle, the candle of Joy

Please join us on Sunday, December 11 at 10:00 am. for First Congregational Church’s annual Festival of Lessons and Carols, a beloved Advent tradition from England wherein God’s word is proclaimed and contemplated in word and song: a special sequence of readings, prayers, choral anthems, and congregational carols.



Service of Light
Thursday, December 15, 7:00 PM

Join us in Ripley Chapel for a time of prayer, candle lighting and music. Designed to move from darkness to hope, the service opens us to God’s quiet presence. Read more…


Advent Worship:  A Children’s Pageant
December 18, 10:00 AM

Lighting of the 4th Advent candle, the candle of Love

Share in the love, hope, and joy of the Christmas story as the children & youth stage the annual Christmas Pageant during the worship service. Families should look for more information from Maggie about how they can be involved in this year’s pageant.



Christmas Eve Services

Candlelight Service
Saturday, Dec. 24, 5:00 PM

A beautiful Christmas Eve service with participation from some of our children and the traditional lighting of candles in the darkened sanctuary to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child! Join us in person or on-line.


Candlelight Service
Saturday, Dec. 24, 9:00 PM

Our traditional Candlelight Service with scriptural lessons and sacred carols, special music from the choir and a string quartet! We’ll end the service by lighting candles in the darkened sanctuary as we sing together Silent Night Holy Night. Join us in person or on-line.


Christmas Day Worship in Ripley Chapel
Sunday, Dec. 25, 10:00 AM (in-person only)

Intimate, casual, joyous worship in Ripley Chapel. Come in your pajamas if you’d rather not bother with dressing up! Please note—no livestream on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day!



Faith Formation


Cookie Walk
Sun. Dec 11 after worship in Chidley Hall

Bakers Wanted! Junior Forum and Forum are asking bakers to donate homemade cookies or any number of specialty items such as truffles, seasonal breads, confections, etc., for their annual Cookie Walk. This fundraiser helps support the youth mission trips and service projects. Interested bakers can contact Maggie Keeler with any questions.

Junior Forum Advent Gathering
Sun. Dec 11 at 6 PM

We invite our Junior Forum to join us for an evening gathering of food, fun, and fellowship! We will meet in the Forum room for pizza, treats, and games and hang out until 7:15 pm. Link to RSVP

Forum Progressive Dinner
Sunday, Dec 18 at 5:30 pm

Forum will celebrate Christmas early on Sunday evening with the traditional progressive supper, please RSVP to Maeve & let her know if you can bring food to contribute to the festivities.


Epiphany Gathering
January 8th 5:30 PM

Join us on January 8th 5:30 PM for a family-friendly Epiphany celebration. We will begin with a potluck dinner and traditional king cake and then journey through the church to find the final resting place of the star.  Once there, we will share a blessing for Epiphany.




Community Events

Advent Women’s Gathering: Instruments of Peace
Monday, Dec. 5, 7:00 PM, Tucker Room & Ripley Chapel 

All church women are invited to an evening of fellowship and peaceful contemplation. As a special gift this Advent season, invite your sisters, mothers, daughters, trans and non-binary individuals and friends to join you-in person or on the livestream…read more



Service of Light: A Service of Prayer, Candle Lighting and Music
Thursday, Dec. 15, 7:00 PM

Join us for a time of prayer, candle lighting and music. Designed to move from darkness to hope, the service opens us to God’s quiet presence. Come in the face of life’s challenges, anxieties, and fears. Come when grief or loss disrupts life. Come to remember those whom we hold dear. Come during the rush of the holidays, or invite a friend or loved one facing difficulties. Read more…


CORRECTION:  Centering Prayer begins on December 14th in Ripley Chapel at 9:30 am!

You are invited to join in a 20-minute Centering Prayer Meditation in Ripley Chapel or via Zoom.  Offer yourself that time of peace and stillness, finding some space for the Spirit to speak to you. You are welcomed to stay for Divine Yoga at 10:00am but do not need to feel any pressure.  We’ll begin with a brief prayer, and will sit with the Holy in silence for 20 minutes.  At the end, we will depart in silence.  Absolutely no meditation experience is required to join. Reach out to Christine Tresselt/cgtresselt@gmail, with any questions.


CORRECTION: Divine Yoga is back on December 14th in Ripley Chapel!

Beginning at 10:00am, we will meet in Ripley Chapel or via Zoom for a 45-minute gentle practice. Wear comfortable clothes and feel free to bring any blocks/blankets that offer you support.  We have a few mats, blocks and cushions to share, as well as several chairs, so please come!  You do not need to be an expert yogi–it is a practice for all! Feel free to reach out to Christine Tresselt for more info:



Opportunities to Help Others

The Outreach Commission sponsors these annual events. Please participate in any or all of the collections as the spirit of the season moves you. Donations should be dropped off at the church.

The Giving Tree

During the holiday season, our church provides gifts to some of our neighbors. This year we will provide gifts for children and youth at Woburn Council for Social Concerns and YVLifeSet in Arlington. We are also collecting warm socks for the for the men and women who call the Lowell Transitional Living Center home. Read more and sign up to bring a gift


Cookie Walk
December 11, after worship, Chidley Hall

Bakers Wanted! Junior Forum and Forum are asking bakers to donate nut-free cookies, truffles, seasonal muffins and confections for their annual Cookie Walk on Sunday, December 11th. This fundraiser helps support the youth mission trips and service projects.

Please label baked goods with your name and ingredients and drop them off in Chidley Hall before the service on Sunday, Dec 11th. The youth will box assorted goodies to be purchased during hospitality hour after the service for $10/dozen.  We hope to create gluten-free boxes for those with food sensitivities too. Contact Maggie Keeler with any questions.


Poinsettia Dedications
A Christmas Tradition of Joy!

Orders are due by Wed. Dec. 14. If you would like to donate a chancel Christmas poinsettia as a memorial, or in honor of someone, please fill out this form. You can mail a check to the church office, use Venmo, or PayPal. (Please indicate “Christmas plants” in the memo field). New this year are special Flower Offering envelopes in the narthex and office lobby. The plants are $20 each.

Spread Christmas Joy by delivering a poinsettia to a member of our faith community at home and in a local care center. Plants will be available on Saturday, December 18 in the front of the sanctuary. Deliveries can be made on Sunday or during the first few days of the week.

The Outdoor Church
January 29, 2 PM

Please lend a hand this holiday season with the Outdoor Church. There are many ways you can make a difference! On January 29, we will receive donated ingredients, make sandwiches and send them with a few church members to Cambridge. You can participate this holiday season by filling up our sock collection bins in the lobby. Place new in package white tube socks for men and women in the bins so the team can distribute them in January.