Thanks to all of you who participated in our celebrations on December 24th and 25th! Together, we completed our Advent journey in the morning, then got things ready to welcome the message of the angels in the evening; we also welcomed lots of folks to our "Inn" on Park Street! Thanks for beings such hospitable "innkeepers."
Despite some forecasts to the contrary, the snow stayed away until the early morning hours; so our Christmas Eve Pageant and Candlelight Services were both inspiring and anxiety-free, and Sexton Sheward Hagerty cleared the sidewalks and steps in plenty of time for our "White Christmas" Day service.
A special thanks to all who did double-duty on the 24th -- including the Altar Guild, Choir, Ushers and Sunday School Pageant Players (especially their parents, teachers and Directors -- Laurie Varley and Mark Sullivan)! Have to wonder if back-to-back rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday mornings, contributed to the youngsters' superb performances on Sunday evening! Won't be able to test that out for six years; December 24th next falls on Sunday in 2023.
Our Christmas celebrations did not conclude on the Christmas Day! Sunday, December 31st is both the day of New Year's Eve, and the Seventh Day of Christmas -- a.k.a. the First Sunday after Christmas. So, we will continue our Christmas celebrations with more readings about the birth of the Messiah, the Christ, the Incarnate Word of God. During the 10 a.m. service, we will sing more favorite carols to illuminate the readings.
A festive Christmas Potluck Coffee Hour will follow the 10 a.m. service. Please bring along those Christmas cookies, fruitcakes, cheeses and other treats that you wish to share.
For some unexplained reason, PBS scheduled the broadcast debut of "The Sultan & the Saint" for December 26th. I had attended a local premiere of this hour-long documentary-drama in the fall, and had it marked on my calendar; otherwise I'm sure I would have missed it. Glad I didn't. "The Sultan & the Saint" tells the fascinating story of the historic meeting of the Sultan of Egypt and St. Francis of Assisi in 1220 during the Crusades. And yes, this is history, not fantasy.
The documentary includes both dramatic enactments and brief comments by scholars of Christianity and Islam, plus interesting insights into how the hatred which motivated the Crusades was incited and took its tragic course. The efforts of the Sultan and St. Francis disrupted that process however, and the Crusades soon lost any remaining energy.
Both New York and Connecticut PBS stations are re-broadcasting "The Sultan & the Saint." Most showings are in wee-hours -- set your recorder; however, CPTV stations will air it again on Sunday, the 31st, at noon. I recommend it highly!
As our Christmas celebrations continue, so do our Advent Outreach efforts; and this week's bitter cold underscores the urgent need for both:
There's still room on the Mitten Tree for more mittens, caps, gloves, and scarves, and colorful bags of toiletries and candy around the base, for our neighbors served by New Haven's Chapel-on-the-Green, who live on the margins of plenty.
And, more "Angels-under-the-Balcony" have appeared, reminding us of Christ Church's historic ministry to help keep our neighbors warm by assisting with their home heating expenses through the Town's Heating Assistance Program.
I look forward to continuing our Christmas celebrations with you this Sunday, as I wish you and yours, a ...
Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!,
p.s. Profound thanks to the households who have shared an "Estimate of Giving" for 2018!! If your "Estimate," card has disappeared amid holiday paraphernalia, more are available on the Ushers' Table. Please know that the final "Estimates" are as important to Christ Church's witness, as were the first!
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!