Bishop and Christian*, December 2015

As the days continue to get shorter and the hours of light fewer, the busyness picks up. Many people dread the holiday season, because it reminds them of loved ones who have died, family strife, the stresses of buying gifts and preparing meals. But something I love about Advent and Christmas services is that they slow us down. They make us take time out to meditate and think about what these seasons are really about. “Jesus is the reason for the season” may have become a trite, greeting-card platitude, but it tries to get at the importance of the “Christ” in “Christ-mass.” And Jesus is not only the reason for this season, He is the reason why there is anything at all, rather than nothing. Even the label “X-mas” cannot get away from Him. The letter “X” is really a Greek letter pronounced “kee.” It is the first letter of “Christ” in Greek [Cristovß].

We will have many opportunities for you to celebrate Jesus’ coming (and anticipate His coming again), as well as the Mass of Christ on December 24 and 25:

Advent midweek services will be held on Wednesdays, December 2, 9, and 16 at 7 pm. The children’s program will be on Sunday, December 13 at 4 pm.

Christmas Eve service of Readings and Hymns will be Thursday, December 24 at 7 pm. On Christmas Day, the Divine Service will be at 9:30 am. (If you will have family members in town with whom I have not previously spoken, I would be happy to talk with them prior to Christmas Day service regarding our Communion practice. Thank you.)

On New Year’s Eve (Thursday, December 31), or what is known on the Church Calendar as the Eve of the Naming/Circumcision of Jesus, the Divine Service will be at 7 pm. Join us as we celebrate our Savior’s first coming, and anticipate in hope His second coming!

Pr. Winterstein

*St. Augustine (354-430 AD), Bishop of Hippo in North Africa, said, “For you I am a bishop [overseer]; with you I am a Christian.”

Quote for the Month

Christmas Poem—G.K. Chesterton

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.

Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost—how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.

This world is wild as an old wife’s tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall all men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

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