SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

December News from St. John's.......

Dec 2, 2016
December News from St. John's.......

A portion of Father Igor’s December message follows.  The message in its entirety can be found in St. John’s December Enlightener. 

 

As the days grow closer to Christmas, and we prepare to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, often we hear this question, “What are you doing for Christmas?”   What is usually implied in this question is this:  “What plans are you making for Christmas?  Where will you have Christmas dinner?  Will you be travelling out of town to visit family and friends?  How’s Christmas shopping going?”.....

 

As the Church, we begin preparation for our Lord’s Birth on November 15, the date that marks the beginning of the Nativity fast in the Orthodox Church.  This time of expectation and of preparation is the time of waiting for Christmas, waiting for the gift of Christmas, waiting for the coming into this world of God’s Son.   

 

The Gospel story, however, helps us to think of it as a journey rather than simply waiting for something to happen.  We must start where we are, just as we are, and journey to Him – to know Him, to love Him, to be with Him.  Joseph and Mary traveled their weary way to Bethlehem.  The shepherds, hearing the angels, left their flocks and hurried to the stable,  The Three Wise Men traveled from a far away land to bring their gifts. 

 

We, too, must do more than simply wait for Christmas.  We must go out to meet the feast, to make ready for it, to look for its meaning, which is to be found in our personal meeting with Christ, Whose birth we celebrate; and Nativity fast is the time to do that.

 

What can we do?  ....We can spend more time in church, in worship.  We can fast and set aside more time for prayer and meditation, asking our Lord to help us, guide us, and enlighten us.  We can find new ways of showing others that we care for them.  We can, and should, remember the poor, the needy, the hungry, and the less fortunate.  We also can, and must, seek Christ in Holy Communion, following a sincere self-examination, which will lead us to repentance in the Sacrament of Confession. .....it is important for all of us to remember this:  the heart of Christmas is Christ Himself. 

 

We have the assurance that Christ lives and embraces us with his love here and now.  All we need to do is to receive His gift of new life by faith, an open heart, and obedience to the Lordship of Christ.  Only as the Risen Christ is born in our hearts, as we die to our old ways and become new by His grace, do we truly experience the magnitude of the meaning of Christmas, the joyful festival of God’s personal presence in our midst.  .......

Yours in Christ,   Father Igor.

 

Gentle Reminders......

 

On Saturday, December 17, there will be an Akathist (Healing Service) to the Mother of God in front of her icon “Queen of All.”  The service will start at 1:00 p.m., is open for everyone and is for the healing from any disease.  This icon of the Mother of God is especially known for the healings that occurred of those who suffered with cancer.

 

Parish Confessions will be offered on Saturday, December 17 following a healing service to the Mother of God in front of her icon “Queen of All.” 

 

It is also possible to have your Confession after any Vespers service or half an hour before Divine Liturgy on Sundays, however, please let Father Igor know in advance if you plan to have confession before Divine Liturgy. 

 

Remember that the Eve of the Nativity, Saturday, December 24 is a strict fast. 

 

This year the Christmas Social will be held in the church hall following Divine Liturgy on December 25, the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Cake and cookies will be available as well as our usual “coffee and” refreshments. 

 

A special thank you to all who donated to our Thanksgiving appeal to help all our neighbors in need.  We are always grateful for your help and again our need continues at this special time of year.  Please remember those less fortunate and make this a true season of blessings for those in need and for those who give with a cheerful and loving heart.

 

The Board of Trustees will not meet in December.  The next meeting will be on Sunday, January 15, 2017 following coffee hour. 

 

For printable December calendar please click here

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