A Christmas Message from the Rector
“Glory to God in the Highest Heaven!”
Beloved in Christ,
Christmas blessings and joy to you!
I chose as my Advent preparation this year to reflect on the passages of Scripture that were related to the sites of my sabbatical pilgrimage, “The Footsteps of Paul and John” in Turkey and Greece. I visited the sites of John’s “seven churches of the revelation” and several of the sites of Paul’s beloved communities.
My Advent reading included Paul’s letters to his beloved communities and passages of the Book of Acts that corresponded to sites we visited, like Corinth or Philippi. I was most moved to walk beside the river, the actual river near Philippi where in Acts 16, Paul and Silas met Lydia, “the seller of purple cloth” who was so moved by the saving goodness of God in Christ that she and her household asked to be baptized right then and there. That’s where my friend, retired priest the Rev. Janice Chalaron and I renewed our baptismal covenant from The Book of Common Prayer.
In Macedonia (northern Greece), we drove up and down the freeway which corresponds to the ancient Roman road, the Via Egnatia, a major highway between what are now Albania and Istanbul. I imagined Paul, Silas and Timothy walking on parts of that busy stone road. The two most cherished communities Paul founded, Thessalonica and Philippi were on that highway. I imagined what it might have been like for Paul to have made this journey of 32 hours between the two on foot more than once.
My pilgrimage to the sites of Paul and John brought their faith and journeys to life for me. My faith is deepened because I feel a closer kinship with their characters, their hardships, their faith and mostly their deep call to imitate Christ’s humility, “…who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself…” (Philippians 2:6-8a). This “hymn,” is our calling in faith. This is hymn is what we celebrate at Christmas, God in Christ, “humbled himself.”
I invite you to the joyful, sacred celebration of the birth of Christ at St. Paul’s. The Christmas Eve celebrations this Friday will be at 4:00 p.m., Family worship with video of our pageant and “picnic Eucharist.” At 7:30 p.m. you are invited to the candlelight service of “picnic” Eucharist. Both are in the church and both will be live streamed. Please be sure to come early to get a seat, wear your mask and dress warmly because of the great ventilation (windows slightly open). Christmas Day “picnic” Eucharist will be at 10:00 a.m. in the church and live streamed.
I invite you to make a Christmas offering or to make a contribution for flowers in memory or honor of a loved one. Please follow this link to do so. Please make sure we have the name for the bulletin by December 21st.
God, the Messiah, the Lord, born in humility, dwells with us, shedding God’s light and love into our lives every single day. “Joy to the World! The Lord is come!”
With joy and love,
CHRISTMAS AT ST. PAUL’S
4pm Family Service with “hybrid” pageant
7:30pm Candlelight Holy Eucharist
Please click on this LINK and watch a short video for important information on gathering safely for indoor worship.
INDOOR IN-PERSON WORSHIP (Digital worship offered as well!)
Based on the most recent CDC instructions, please follow our guidelines for safer in-person indoor worship:
- We will require that you wear a mask. (sanitizer & masks will be at each entrance)
- We will encourage three feet of physical distancing. (Seating will be clearly marked and ushers will help us keep our distance. Please only pass the peace to those near you to limit movement around the Hall and Nave)
- We will say the responses, but no congregational singing. (The choir will sing)
- We will not come forward to receive the bread or wine; communion of one kind from pews.
- We will limit two people or family units in each restroom, masked.
CHRISTMAS AT ST. PAUL’S
Christmas Day Worship 12/25
10:00 am Holy Eucharist (in the Nave & on Facebook Live)
First Sunday after Christmas 12/26
10:30 am Holy Eucharist (in the Nave & on Facebook Live)