Christmas Ministry

Christmas at St. John’s

A Word about our
Christmas Displays & Programs 

Thanksgiving weekend through New Year’s

St. John’s welcomes everyone to visit our church and enjoy our Christmas offerings. For over fifty years, we have received thousands of visitors during the Advent/Christmas season. Our hospitality has earned us the name of “The Christmas Church.” Over the years we have sought to portray the beauty and the meaning of the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem in a variety of ways that are fun and informative for the whole family. Along with our displays, we also have concerts and programs scheduled throughout the season and we offer three services on Christmas Eve.We invite you to bring family and friends to visit us and share the true meaning of Christmas. Click here for dates and times of Christmas displays, shows and concerts, and for Advent and Christmas Eve services. The Christmas spirit extends beyond the holiday season. Year round, we offer a wide variety of ministries and programs for the entire family. Are you looking for a new home church? Come check out our weekly services and consider becoming a part of the St. John’s family.

Creche featuring Live Animals

Open day and night throughout the seasonOur creche, which was first erected in 1950, depicts the humble birthplace of our Lord. The figures were made by our church members and the manger was recently renovated by St. John’s Men’s Club. It was funded by the Walling family and there is a dedication plaque to George Walling erected at the site. The animals are rented from a local farmer. While they are a part of our nativity scene, they are cared for by volunteers from our congregation.

 

Advent Wreath
Starting the first week of Advent 

adventwreath

The Advent Wreath, located at the foot of the altar, was first used in individual homes. A spray of evergreen was placed near the hearth to remind everyone of the everlasting life found in Christ. In the heart of winter most of nature sleeps – the greenery symbolizes the continuation of life. The boughs of the spray were then formed into a circle which symbolizes life without end.The wreaths of today, used in churches and homes, are lighted progressively on each Sunday of Advent.

Each of the candles is symbolic:
First Sunday – Hope
Second Sunday – Preparation
Third Sunday – Joy
Fourth Sunday – Love

Stained Glass Windows (Sanctuary)

The five stained glass windows in our sanctuary were given to the church as memorials. Each window symbolizes a part of Christ’s life. The first window is located at the front of the church nearest the altar.1. Christmas Window: Incarnation, Birth, Flight to Egypt, Word Becomes Flesh
2. Early Ministry: Baptism, Calling of Disciples, Cana Miracle, Catch of Fish
3. “I AM”: Way, Truth of Life, Good Shepherd, Light of the World
4. Last Week: Palm Sunday, Teaching in the Temple, Money Changers, Last Supper
5. Culmination: Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost

Angel Tree

Members and friends may purchase a Christmas Angel to hang on their Christmas tree or display in a special location in their home. Fill out a paper angel “In Memory” or “In Honor” of a loved one or a special person in your life and hang it on the Angel Tree.St. John’s ministries are supported by your donation of $5.00 for each Christmas Angel ornament.

Jesse Tree

Decorated with the symbols of Christ’s forebears, the Jesse Tree helps us become acquainted with those ancestors by understanding the meaning of these symbols and their corresponding stories.

1. Dove – Story of Creation (Genesis 1: 1-2; 3)
2. Ram – Story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22: 1 – 19)
3. Ladder – Story of Jacob (Genesis 28: 1 – 17)
4. Rainbow – Story of The Flood (Genesis 6: 11 – 22)
5. Crown – Story of A Wise and Just King (Isaiah 8: 11 – 9; 7)

Chrismon Tree

“Chrismon” is a combination of two words, CHRISt and MONogram. The decorations symbolize the genealogy of Christ and of His life, death, and resurrection. Chrismons use only the colors white and gold. White is the liturgical color for Christmas and refers to Christ’s purity and perfection. Gold refers to the majesty and glory of our Lord. Chrismon trees are usually decorated with tiny white lights to remind us that Christ is the “light of the world.” Many of the Chrismon trees in the Narthex have been handmade by the members of the congregation.

Covenant Symbol

The Covenant Symbol is a beautiful needlepoint art piece that has hung in our Narthex since 1979. It was conceived and designed with the assistance of a gifted artist, William Downer, and was completed by church members within a space of one year.The Star Of David, which makes up the main shape of the piece, represents the Old Testament. The frame also has a cross rising from the star. It symbolizes the fulfillment of the New Testament. Other symbols include the Eye of God (the beginning / creation); the Ark (sins of the world / the flood); Abraham and the promised land; The Ten Commandmendts (call of Moses / the burning bush); The Menorah (the temple period); the birth, baptism, and crucifixion of Christ; the crown of thorns; the crown of victory and the symbol of reconciliation; God reaching out to touch man and the Holy Spirit or dove of peace. Mathematician John Cilio determined that approximately two million stitches and 8,000 hours were required to complete this piece.

Meditation Garden

If you look out the windows of our curved hallway you will see our beautiful meditation garden. The rendering of “Jesus at Prayer” in the garden was given in loving memory of Pastor Norman R. Riley for his 44 years of service at St. John’s and his dedication to our Lord.

Cana Mosaic

On the opposite wall from the piece “Jesus at Prayer” is the Cana Mosaic, which was donated in memory of two church members by their families, the Beveridges and the Garrisons. The mosaic represents the first miracle: Christ’s changing the water into wine at the wedding in Cana in Galilee. The mosaic, weighing 4,500 pounds, is made of 150,000 pieces of mosaic glass imported from Carrerra, Italy, the home of Michaelangelo.

Putz Sight and Sound Show (Wesley Room)  nativity2

The Putz, the sight and sound show, tells the story of the first Christmas. It was designed and built by church members in 1976 and has recently been restored. The thirty minute show has approximately 120 lighting changes and has been seen by thousands of visitors over the years.The scale model of Israel is 40 feet long and 12 feet wide. Key places, such as Nazareth (the hometown of Mary and Joseph), Bethlehem (the birthplace of Jesus), and Jerusalem are depicted in minute detail.  Check our calendar or Events for dates and times. Special show times are available for groups of twelve or more by calling the Church office for reservations.

Stained Glass Windows (Education Wing)

There is another set of stained glass windows across from Herod’s Temple.
They depict the following moments in the life of Jesus:

1. Birth
2. Baptism
3. Teaching Ministry
4. Cana Miracle
5. Feeding of 5000
6. Palm Sunday
7. Last Supper
8. Crucifixion
9. Resurrection
10. Pentecost

Luminaries 

Photo courtesy of Joe Reyes

Photo courtesy of Joe Reyes

If you take a walk on the grounds of our church, you will see that all of our pathways are lined with luminaries. The candlelit paper bags are also called “farolitos,” the Spanish word for “little lanterns.”The Spanish began a tradition of lighting bonfires along the roads and churchyards to guide people to Midnight Mass on the final night of the celebration of Las Posadas (meaning “lodging” or “inn”). The night of Las Posadas is a festive celebration that was introduced to the native people of Mexico by European missionaries. It is a remembrance of the story of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. The luminaries decorate walkways as a symbol of guiding these weary travelers to their destination – the birthplace of Christ.