Advent and Christmas

When something hits close to home, it affects us deeply. During the Advent and Christmas season, we journey through scriptures and rituals that are tender, heavy with emotion, and vulnerable. We carry the memories and truths of this season close to our hearts. Close to Home acknowledges the “already but not yet” tension of our faith: Emmanuel is with us, and yet, God’s promised day—our everlasting home—is not fully realized. It names our deep longing for God to come close to us.

The Advent and Christmas scriptures are rich with home metaphors and imagery. John the Baptist prophesies about the One who is to come, but reminds us that we are still wandering far from God’s promised day; his message hits close to home, especially for those experiencing inequity and oppression. After receiving the angel’s news, Mary retreats to Elizabeth’s home, seeking refuge and safety. Christ is born in the midst of a journey home, in a crowded dwelling amidst livestock and shepherds alike. The Magi travel far from home to pay homage to Christ, and, having been warned in a dream, they avoid Herod by traveling home another way. In these scriptures, home is both physical and metaphorical, something we seek and something we are called to build. Ultimately, God is our home and resting place. God draws near and makes a home on earth—sacred ground is all around us.

This Advent, may we be comforted by the One who dwells intimately with us. May we expand safety and sanctuary for everyone wandering far from home. May we come home—wherever home is found—to live fully with joy, hope, and courage. We welcome you this holiday season and always. Please join us in person or online at First Presbyterian Church, Fort Collins.

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has issued a public health order requiring face coverings be worn in all public indoor spaces in Larimer County including First Presbyterian Church. For those who wish not to wear a face covering, or who are at-risk in public situations, we encourage you to join our Advent experiences online.


Worship online

Sunday | 11.28 | 9 AM | Advent Worship with communion: "Homesick"

As we begin Advent with Luke 21, we remember how far from home we are. The world is not as it should be. Many have lost their physical homes, many feel alone, and many are isolated. Many of us feel as if we are wandering with no clear way forward. This first week speaks to our deep longing—for our home to be made whole, made right, and made well. With deep longing, we watch for God. Thankfully, God enters a homesick world.

Wednesday | 12.1 | 6 PM | realities for Children's NIGHTLIGHTS Event

Every holiday season, the big blue NightLights tree located on the lawn at First Presbyterian Church lights up the night, bringing awareness to the issues of child abuse and neglect and letting the children impacted know they are not alone. Gather your family and friends and enjoy complimentary hot drinks and tasty holiday treats, live holiday music, and visits with Santa at the Annual NightLights Tree Lighting. The event is free and open to all.

Sunday | 12.5 | 9 AM | Advent Worship: "Laying the foundation"

In the miraculous birth of John the Baptist, we see the foundation of what is to come. We see how interwoven his story is with Jesus’ origin story. When Zechariah regains his voice, his imagination is also restored. He offers deep praise for God’s tender mercy and casts a hopeful vision for his own child. He sings blessings into John’s being. This lays the foundation for John’s life. In turn, John will go on to prepare the way for Jesus who will guide us all in the way of peace. In this week, we focus on making space—in our lives and our imaginations—for
God’s blessings to break through.

SUNDAY | 12.5 | 7 PM | the 36th annual bells of Christmas, a concert of worship

This annual tradition has long been on the list of must-attend holiday events in the community and features FPC’s Chancel Bell Choir, Joe McConathy on Organ, and the Exquisite Brass Quintet ringing in the Christmas season. As a gift to the community, the concert is FREE and open to the public.  A freewill offering will be taken to benefit Crossroads Safehouse, a non-profit that provides emergency safehousing, advocacy, legal assistance, rapid rehousing, and crisis intervention for victims of domestic violence. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and early arrival is highly encouraged.

Sunday | 12.12 | 9 & 11 AM | Worship Concert: A Christmas Festival

The choirs and orchestra of FPC will join together to present the annual Music Ministry Christmas presentation, A Christmas Festival, at two identical worship services. The Sanctuary Choir, Chancel Bell Choir, and FPC Orchestra will present the Nativity story through Lessons and Carols. A Christmas Festival will take the place of our regular morning worship, and there will be no Sunday School (for children, youth, and adults). Nursery care is available for children up to age 5. These services will also be available through live streaming. Come and unite your voice with the choirs and orchestra to proclaim Christ is born!

Sunday | 12.19 | 9 AM | Advent Worship: "Seeking Sanctuary"

After receiving the angel’s extraordinary news, Mary retreats to Elizabeth and Zechariah’s home to digest her new calling. She seeks refuge—physical safety and emotional protection. She receives a safe haven, a home for her heart to soon sing praise. Sanctuary and safe space is so crucial for everyone, especially the mother of Christ while she prepares to become a home for God. Sanctuary is anywhere God’s love dwells freely and abundantly.

SUNDAY | 12.19 | 10:30 aM | "a Way in a Manger" Movie Premiere

This year, some members of the youth group are in charge of putting together the manger scene. Things got a little crazy—and luckily, we caught it all on film! Join us for the movie premiere of our children's nativity play.

Wednesday | 12.22 | 7 PM | Advent Worship: The LONGEST NIGHT Service

Feeling blue? We invite you to an evening of contemplative music, scripture, stories, silence, reflection, and healing prayer. Light a candle in memory of a loved one, or as a sign of hope in the midst of darkness. 

Friday | 12.24 | 5 & 7 PM | CHRISTMAS EVE Worship: "Invited Home"

There is no room for Mary and Joseph in the inn. They are displaced from their home, journeying to fulfill their civic requirements to be counted in the census. And yet, the time comes to give birth where they are, and so a humble home is found. A place is made, among the feeding trough, in a cramped room abounding with chaos. In many ways, Jesus is born without an invitation, and yet, he devotes his life to inviting people who are cast out. In the same way, we might imagine the story of Christmas as God’s invitation to be welcomed home despite all
barriers. How will we respond? Join us for traditional Christmas candlelight worship featuring our Sanctuary Choir at 5PM and a smaller ensemble at 7PM.


Advent Devotional

The Advent Devotional booklet follows the Close to Home theme through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. The booklet is designed for older youth and adults of all ages—and especially for those who are hungry for daily readings and prompts. Don’t forget to share your reflections with one another in your small groups, taking a friend to coffee, or on our Facebook group page. Request access to the online version of the booklet here. Also, limited printed copies are available at church.