Join us for Advent & Christmas 2021


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 28, 10:00 AM

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

This family-oriented service is our festive annual kick-off to the season of Advent when we don the church with decorations and through word and song share the religious origins of wreaths, evergreens, poinsettias, the Christmas Tree and even Saint Nicholas.  “O Come all ye faithful!” Read more…

Advent Worship & Communion
December 5, 10:00 AM

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

This Sunday is the second one in Advent. The Carter family will be lighting the second advent candle, the candle of peace. The scripture is familiar to many – the voice of one crying in the wilderness – the enigmatic John the Baptist. Read more…


An Advent Celebration of the “O Antiphons” in Medieval Liturgy & Music;

December 12, 10:00 AM

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

It’s the 3rd Sunday of Advent, and this week during worship we welcome early music and chant specialist, Justina Golden, to help illuminate a meditation on the O Antiphons, an ancient Christian Advent singing and prayer practice that prepares us for the coming of Christ. Read more…


Service of Light
Thursday, December 16, 7:00 PM

Join us in the Sanctuary 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…


Christmas on the Common: A Children’s Pageant
December 19, 10:00 AM

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

Make new Christmas memories this year at Christmas on the Common. Share in the love, hope, and joy of the Christmas story as the children stage a no-rehearsal Christmas Pageant. To participate, please sign up for one of the many roles available here. Walk on angels, shepherds, and animals are also welcome. Click here for more information about how you can be involved in this wonderful community worship service.


Christmas Eve Services

Candle Light Service
Friday, Dec. 24, 5:00 PM

A beautiful and joyful Christmas Eve service for the whole family.  This year our pageant will be held outside on December 19th and so our 5 pm family service will look a little different.  We’ll still have some children involved in reading the story of the birth of Jesus. We’ll sing carols together, light candles, and have music that the family will enjoy to celebrate Christ’s birth.


Candle Light Service
Friday, Dec. 24, 9:00 PM

Our evening candlelight service will celebrate the birth of the Christ Child through scripture and carols and special music from our Adult and Bell Choirs. We will have a quiet and beautiful time of lighting candles to dispel the darkness and open our hearts to Christ’s arrival.


Epiphany Celebration
Sunday, January 2, 2021 5-6 PM

Epiphany is the day the church celebrates the arrival of the Wise Men at the manger. It is officially 12 days after Christmas – 12 days – sound familiar? The church celebration is not about getting gifts but seeking the Christ Child and bringing the familiar gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. We celebrate with our own version of the long journey the Wise Men took. read more and sign up to join us….


Faith Formation

An image of the Antiphon “O Dayspring” from the artist Ansgar Holmberg

Advent Study: “The O Antiphons”,

Ripley Chapel, in person, every Tuesday in Advent 7 pm

You know the “O Antiphons” from one of the most cherished of Christmas Carols that we sing – O Come, O Come Emmanuel. But do you really know the O Antiphons? It’s a beautiful rich liturgical tradition that reaches deep into Christian history drawing on biblical images of the promised Messiah and using them to pray for the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas. Join us in Ripley Chapel on Tuesday evenings at 7pm to learn more and deepen your engagement with this holy season.



Community Events

Advent Women’s Gathering: Becoming The Light

Monday, Dec. 6, 7:00 PM, Ripley Chapel & Sanctuary

Begin your spiritual preparation for the busy Christmas Season by centering yourself. Invite a friend, teenage daughter, sister or mother to join you for this tradition of fellowship, reflection and music. Read more…



Ripley Presents: Songs for the Waiting
Friday, December 17, 2021, 7:00 PM

Featuring Daniela Tosic and Adriana Ruiz, vocalists. Live Audience & Live Stream


From haunting chants to cheering Baroque duets, from Fauré’s Messe Basse to haunting contemporary carols, Ms. Tosic and Ms. Ruiz are sure to bring warmth, peace, and mystery to a cold winter’s night. Jane Ring Frank and Jeffrey Mead, keyboards. Read more and purchase tickets here…


Service of Light: A Service of Prayer, Candle Lighting and Music
Thursday, Dec. 16, 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…



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 5, 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 5th. 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 5th. 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.


A Christmas Tradition of Joy!

Poinsettia Dedications

Orders are due by Wed. Dec. 15
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.


Warm Up America! Made With Love

We are planning another “yarn bombing” this January to provide the houseless with handmade hats, gloves and scarves. You can help! We need knitters and/or crocheters to make adult-size hats, scarves and mittens which we will hang from trees and fences. You can use any pattern you like.

Questions? Please reach out to Carole Cooke  or Karen Lauterwasser . We’d be happy to suggest yarns and patterns, or provide Zoom knitting help for those whose knitting needles are a bit rusty.

The Outdoor Church
January 30, 12 PM

Please lend a hand this holiday season with the Outdoor Church. There are many ways you can make a difference! On January 30, 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.