Today is Friday, January 3, the third day in the New Year, 2014. Blessings, good health and peace to you all!

Today is also the 9th day of Christmas. Episcopalians are serious about observing our Seasons and Feast Days properly. For example, in Advent, we take on a posture of waiting, preparing and watching for Christ. We resist the urge to go crazy in shopping malls and decorating our homes until much later than our neighbors. You could say we are a bit “counter cultural” indeed!

And how strange that we don’t even complete the setting up of our Nativity scene until January 6 when we observe the tradition of the Epiphany, when we believe the Wise Men came to pay homage to the baby Jesus. That day is the 12th Day of Christmas, when it is important for us to remember that Christ’s birth was not only announced to the grungy shepherds in Luke’s Gospel, the star beckoned the Gentile Magi to come to the cradle in Matthew’s Gospel.

“The feast of the Epiphany started in the Eastern church in honor of the baptism of Jesus. It was introduced in the West in the fourth century, where it came to be associated with the visit of the Magi. Epiphany is actually January 6, and in some parts of the world, families exchange gifts on January 6 instead of on Christmas Day, because Epiphany celebrates the coming of the wise men and the gifts they brought.”[1]

This Sunday, we will have the rare opportunity to celebrate one more Sunday after Christmas, the 11th Day of Christmas, the day before the feast of the Epiphany. Yes, Episcopalians are a strange bunch of believers! They ON PURPOSE don’t take down their Christmas decorations until the 12th day of Christmas. And they even sing Christmas hymns this late.

So don’t be surprised if we sing one more round of “Joy to the World” and other familiar Christmas favorites this Sunday. Join us for this counter-cultural experience! See you in church!

Joyfully,
Carolyn

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[1] Feasting on the Word, Year A, Advent through Epiphany, 2nd Sunday after Christmas, R. Alan Culpepper.
Notes on Sunday’s Music

We’ll have music at both the 8 and 10:30 services on Sunday. The hymns are oriented towards the coninuing story of Jesus’s birth, with Epiphany (January 6) closely in view. At 10:30 the choir will sing Coventry Carol. This carol dates from the fifteenth century, when it was first sung as part of a pageant in the city of Coventry. It is a lullaby that specifically recalls the deaths of the children whom Herod ordered to be killed when he heard about Jesus (Matt 2:16–18). The event is traditionally observed in the Christian calendar on December 28.

Organ music includes a meditative prelude in D Minor by the south German composer Johann Pachelbel (d. 1706), and a short prelude and fugue by the south German composer J. K. F. Fischer (1656-1746).

This Sunday’s Announcements

Nametags Please wear your nametag. If you need one, a signup sheet is posted in the Great Hall near the kitchen window. Magnetic closures are for those who prefer them but these are not to be used by someone with a pacemaker or other implanted electrical device.

Healing Prayer is offered today at the 8:00 and 10:30 services. If you wish to receive a prayer for yourself or on behalf of another, proceed to the vestibule following communion.

Parenting as a Spiritual Journey, Part 2. Please join Linda Ashe-Ford for another 6-week conversation about the spiritual journey you take every day with your young children. This adult group meets from 10:15 to 11:00 in the Library on the following Sundays: January 5, 12, February 2, 9, 16, and 23. Coffee, tea, and simple snacks will be available for this time of sharing. Whether you were part of this group in the fall or not, all are invited to share thoughts on the challenging job of marking sacred time with those children in their care. Please be part of the conversation.

Sharing and Caring Support Group will meet on Wednesday, January 8 at 1:00 p.m. There will be a review of the practice of “A Sacred Trust” along with sharing of stories, pictures, poems and prayers. Barbara Blanchard & Susan McCracken

Cabot Cheese There is a cheese for sale, 6 dollars a pound, help yourself. You can find it in the kitchen refrigerator.

The Messenger There will not be a January issue of parish newsletter, The Messenger. Please watch for the Parish Annual Report, available January