Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
I send to all of you Greetings for the Season of Advent.
While we observe in the secular calendar the beginning of the new year on the first of January, for us Christians, the new year begins with the first Sunday of Advent, which occurs this year on the second of December. For Christians, the new year begins with preparation for the Birth of the Christ Child. Four Sundays later, we observe the Birth of the Christ Child on Christmas. It was in the twelfth century that it was decided that the Christian calendar was to begin with Advent. “Four weeks,” or “forty days and forth nights,” in the Jewish way of thinking, on which Christianity was based, meant “a long time.” “Forty” is not to be taken literally. That is why we undergo a long time before the Birth of Christ, just as we go through forty days before Easter, when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead, on Easter Sunday.
As we observe the beginning of the new Christian year, we renew ourselves. We begin anew. We welcome you anew to our parish family, as we celebrate on Sundays the Last Supper when he offered himself to the faithful. We also renew our parish family life with Community Supper. We continue to look for ways to resume our children’s education in Sunday School. We also reach out for our Christian sisters and brothers in Hudson and far beyond.
As last year, we will celebrate Christmas Eve at 5:00PM, followed by a Christmas Morning service at 10 AM. After the “twelve days of Christmas,” we welcome the Season of the Epiphany, when we remember to remember how the “Three Wise Men” journeyed from the “East,” most likely today’s Iran, following only the stars, to Bethlehem to worship the Birth of the Christ Child. By then, in our “secular calendar,” we will be in 2019.
Let us remember that from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day every year, some of us are so busy with family gatherings and parties with our friends. Others of us undergo the loneliest time of the year. This is the time when we hold each other, welcome each other, especially the homeless, the friendless and the lonely into our homes and churches.
We look forward to seeing you at St. Luke’s in many of our activities, especially in our Sunday morning services at 10 o’clock, followed by fellowship in the Ebens’s Room downstairs.
Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.
Here is a poem that might move you, as it did me:offered by our parishioner, June Miller:
“In this Advent of expectation
draw us together in unity,
that our praise and worship
might echo in these walls
and also through our lives.
In this Advent of expectation
draw us together in mission,
that the hope within
might be the song we sing,
and the melody of our lives.
In this Advent of expectation
draw us together in service,
that the path we follow
might lead us from a stable
to a glimpse of eternity.”
Copyright © John Birch, 2016 · Prayers written by the author may be copied freely for worship.
If reproduced anywhere else please include acknowledgement to the author/website ·