Advent & Christmas 2023 at UPC

Join us for Advent, a season of expectant waiting and hope.

Quick Links

What is Advent?

“Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.” During the season of Advent, we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world and watch with expectant hope for his coming again.

When does Advent begin?
The season of Advent is fixed to the four Sundays before Christmas. In 2023, Advent begins on Sunday, December 3 (the latest it can fall).

How many days are in Advent?
Because we mark Advent by the number of Sundays before Christmas, and Christmas falls on a different day of the week each year, it can vary! It can be as many as 28 days or as few as 22 days. In 2023, it will be 22 days.

What are some ways we can observe Advent at home?
Some families like to have their own Advent wreath at home. Others use an Advent calendar to mark the days together or use a daily Advent devotional.

Is Advent the same as the 12 Days of Christmas?
The 12 Days of Christmas come after Christmas, not before! This season of celebration culminates in Epiphany (Jan. 6), which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child,

Opportunities to Prepare

Advent Craft Festival

Sun., Dec. 3 at 9:45 am

Join us in the UPC Fellowship Hall on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 9:45 a.m. for the annual Advent Craft Festival! There will be crafts for children (and children at heart) to make in preparation for Advent. We will have plenty of greenery, candles, and supplies for you to make an Advent wreath to use at home.  Children are encouraged to “dress down” or wear an old t-shirt or smock that can get messy.

We need volunteers to help us get ready for the festival, and to staff the stations! Click here to volunteer to help.

Contact Nancy Myer ( or Jessica Beardsley if you have questions.

Chrismon Guild

Monday afternoons, 1-2:30 pm

Would you like to learn about monograms that tell the story of Christ? Do you like to craft? Join the Chrismon Guild! This small group will meet on Mondays, 1-2:30 pm in Room 214 through Advent (Nov 28, Dec 4, Dec 11, and Dec 18). All are welcome! Come one time, or come every time!

Advent Taizé Retreat

Wed., Dec. 6-Fri., Dec. 8
St. Francis Springs

Click here for details about this retreat.

Opportunities to Worship

Sundays in Advent

Dec. 3, Dec. 10, Dec. 17, Dec. 24

You’re invited to join us for worship each Sunday in Advent:

Dec. 3, 10, & 17: Worship at 8:30 am & 11:00 am. Our 11:00 service is also livestreamed.

Dec. 24: Worship at 10:00 am (also livestreamed)

Sundays in Christmas

Christmas 1 – Sun., Dec. 31
Worship at 10:00 am

Special Services

A Service of Lessons & Carols

Sun., Dec. 10, 8:30 am & 11:00 am

Lessons and Carols is a beloved UPC tradition and a highlight of our worship year for many! This choral service will feature musical offerings by all four of our choirs–the Alleluia Choir, Choristers, Youth Choir, and Chancel Choirs will come together to tell the story of God’s love for humanity, from Adam’s fall through the birth of Jesus.

We will also have our traditional potluck Advent brunch at 9:45 am – all are welcome!

Longest Night Service

Tues., Dec. 19 at 7:30 pm

While things may be merry and bright for some during the holiday season, others may feel sadness and pain. For some, this time of year can be the loneliest of all times. The Longest Night is a service to acknowledge such feelings. Gather with us for words of comfort, prayers for hope, candles, gentle music, and silence.

Christmas Eve

We offer two worship opportunities on Christmas Eve – join us for one or both of these services!

5:00 pm Family Service

A worship experience intended especially for children and their families, giving us the opportunity to watch the nativity story unfold before our very eyes and ring jingle bells in celebration. The Alleluia Choir and Choristers will sing, and we’ll have both regular and battery-operated candles available. This service will also be available via livestream.

8:00 pm Candlelight Service

A traditional and festive time of worship, with music led by the Youth Choir and Chancel Choir. This service will also be available via livestream.

Opportunities to Learn

Sunday School

Note: There will be no Sunday School on Dec. 3 (Advent Craft Festival), Dec. 10 (Advent Brunch), or Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve)

Faith & the Arts
Dec. 17: Auden’s Christmas Oratorio (with a combined activity for children in the Youth Center)

Opportunities to Give

During this season, we offer several opportunities to honor your loved ones with a gift to help our neighbors near and far! Here are just a few ways you can give:

Christmas Gifts of Beauty & Bounty

It is the UPC tradition during Advent to honor and remember the people in our lives through Christmas Gifts of Beauty and Bounty. Your gift can be used to purchase a poinsettia which will be placed in the chancel, or as a contribution to the Inter-Faith Council for Social Services to support our neighbors in need. (You can also choose to do both with your gift!) The names of those honored and remembered with these gifts will be in the Sunday Worship Bulletin on December 10.

Alternative Gift Market

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed by the prospect of shopping for Christmas this year? Not sure what to get that friend or family member who has everything? Let us help! At the UPC Alternative Gift Market, you can make donations in honor of your loved ones that will help support our partners around the world who are working to serve and support those in need – no gift wrap required. The online market will open in mid-November, and we will also have a physical table at the Advent Craft Festival.

Christmas Joy Offering

This special offering of the PC(USA) provides the opportunity for future leaders of the church to pursue and fulfill their dreams through Presbyterian-related education. The offering also helps families of active and retired church workers meet unexpected needs through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pension. We will collect this offering in mid-December.

Devotional Resources

Following the Star

This online devotional is provided by with brief prompts for reflection and prayer, and instrumental music. To recieve a daily email during Advent and Christmas, click here.

Presbyterians for Earth Care

This devotional considers the themes of Advent through the lens of earth care and eco-justice.

United in Hope (PCUSA)

“United in Hope” features contributors writing in a variety of languages, representing some of the diversity of the Presbyterian Church. Authors were invited to write in the languages of their hearts. Some of their devotions were then translated into English — a reversal from the way most of the church’s resources are created.

Bless the Advent We Actually Have

A daily devotional written by Kate Bowler

How does a weary world rejoice?

Printed copies of this devotional from A Sanctified Art are available at UPC.