December 23, 2020
O star of wonder, star of night,
star with royal beauty bright;
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light!.
Refrain of Hymn 128, The Hymnal 1982
Text by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. (1820=1891)
Did you see the "Great Conjuction" of Jupiter and Saturn Monday evening? Quite an amazing sight! Thanks to Marsha, I was able to see it from the Parish Hall's side porch. It's size, shape (oval) and color (faintly yellow-orange) was unlike any "star of night" that I've ever seen. Given the number of cars heading south on Whitfield Street, there must have been quite a viewing party at the Marina and Jacob's Beach.
Was this another manifestation of the star that guided the Magi to the Christ Child? I don't know, and frankly, it doesn't matter to me. For me, it was a gift from the wonders of Creation -- a gift of light in the darkness of the longest night of the year, a gift of light in the darkness of a very dark year. And I'm grateful for this gift.
Speaking of light ... the schedule for our celebrations of Christ's birth are in the calendar to the left. For the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, you might consider having a white candle ready to light as we sing "Silent Night." Or perhaps, as Bishop Laura Ahrens suggests, you light a candle at home whenever you participate in a livestream worship service.
Here's another option: Marsha B has kindly prepared tapers for you to pick-up on the chancel table that you'd pass on the way to the Mitten Tree.
Our prayers are asked for all who are commended to the parish's prayers:
All who are ill, including
Jim R, Philip, Alice M, Elizabeth Ann, Parker, Webb, Jill;
for Buster, Andrew M, Michael, Brad T, Dale and all who are contending
with Covid-19 disease;
for the medical caregivers who minister of God's healing gifts;
and for all facing financial hardship because of the pandemic.
May they all know the healing power of
Christ's presence and love.
For the repose of Marius deBruyn, Margaret Smith,
Lois Terribile, and all who ave died;
including the over 320,000 of our fellow citizens
claimed by the coronavirus.
Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord;
may light perpetual shine upon them.
Let us give thanks for the safe delivery of Alicia & Phil's
granddaughter, Camilla Yvonne.
Confirm this family's joy with a lively sense of your presence.
And let us offer special thanksgivings for
the 63rd wedding anniversary of
Anne & Dick Christoffersen
Continue to send your grace upon them,
that their home continues a haven of blessing and peace.
Please continue to hold in prayer:
Andrew E, Ed C, Pastor Bryan Meyers, Sheward, Bob C, Carol U, Sue S, George H, Alex & John H, Jeremy H, Shelly, Philippe, Margaret S, Kate, Frank, Jack, Judy & Ed S, Michael M, Richard D, Dave K, Brian A, Jim & Annie, John, Joan G., Lois C., Winnie Z, Bernie and family, Susie & Paul, Pam McG, Julie H, Murray E., Brooke & family, Kate S., Tracy M., Carl,
Michael S, Joanne N-R, Madeline H, and Kelly G,
Also: Paul D, Susan S, Linda B, June C, Charlie K, Anne C, Mark S, Angela G, Maria, Bob, Olivia, Lois T, and Jo B.
Please also remember: St. Luke’s School & Church in Martel (Haiti)
To add names and concerns for Wednesday's and Sunday's intercessions, and this "Let Us Pray" letter, please send them to YFNR at firstname.lastname@example.org with any details you care to share. Names will move to the longer term list upon request.
Wednesday's Order for Evening will combine thanksgivings for the witness of pragmatic St. Thomas and special Advent prayers. The Litany is based on the "Advent Antiphons" of O Come, O Come Emanuel. We'll be singing the verses that we skipped on Sunday. You can join the 7p.m. livestream via www.facebook.com/cecguilford, and find the bulletin here.
Thursday Bible Study will take Christmas Eve off, and resume on December 31 at 9:30a.m. to continue the story of God's people in Exodus.
Mitten Tree in the Chancel. Thanks to all who are helping decorate our parish Mitten Tree! Perhaps you saw it just behind the altar rail during our livestream services? The side door closest to the Guild Room is open between 10a.m. and 3p.m. for your contributions of mittens, caps, scarves, and gloves. This will also provide you with an opportunity for a quiet moment alone in the church, and to pick up a taper for the singing of "Silent Night" at our Christmas Eve candlelight service.
Angels formerly-under-the-Balcony, are hanging on the Mitten Tree this year to remind us of our longtime commitment to help our neighbors stay warm this winter. The Town of Guilford's Heating Assistance Program began with the benevolence of Christ Church parishioners and was administered by the Rector until it was transferred to our Town's Social Services office. To participate this year, please mail your gift or leave it on the altar or in the rectory entry hall during office hours. Checks may be made out to Christ Church with "Angels," "Heat" or "Fuel Fund" to get to the right place.
Prayer from Sunday. Sunday's sermon provided an excuse for me to include one of my favorite prayers. Though it may seem to be presumptive in the extreme, Christmas is about Jesus being born in our hearts, as much or more than his birth in Bethlehem. This is the same Jesus who is present in the blessed bread and wine of communion, and who ascended to the presence of God the Father. And so the prayer affirms:
Praised, blessed worshiped and adored be Jesus Christ,
on his throne of heavenly glory,
in the most holy sacrament of the altar,
and in the hearts of his faithful people everywhere.
May the Hope of Advent and Christmas be with you and yours,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Rector
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!