Happy 9th Day of Christmas! For twelve days the Church celebrates the wonder of God coming to dwell among us. It takes us twelve days to celebrate the wonder of the "Incarnation," the theological word for the mystery of God taking on human flesh. It also takes us twelve days to tell all the stories connected to the Incarnation. On Christmas Eve and Day we told the stories of Jesus birth. Last Sunday we heard the moving Prologue to John's account of the Gospel; in it John tell us how he understood the Incarnation. This Sunday we will hear about the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem and the Holy Family's flight into Egypt. Although next Sunday actually follows the Epiphany, we will postpone telling the story of the Twelfth Night until Evensong on January 10. More about that below.
It also takes us all of Christmastide, twelve days and more, to sing most of the carols we love. Our hymnals have more beauty to share than we can manage even with our extended celebration of Christmas! I enjoy reading through all the texts to see how poets have heard the Christmas stories speaking to them and their situations. Although I have sung most of the Hymnal 1982, it still holds surprises for me. I'll share once such surprise in this Sunday's sermon.
Annual Pledge Appeal Update: Pat Wakefield, our Parish Administrator, reported Thursday that as of that day's mail we had received 58 pledges for 2016! That puts us over halfway to our goals for participation and financial support for 2016. Many thanks to those who have made their pledges for 2016. A reminder note went out today to those whose pledge packets may have gotten lost in the holiday rush.
The gifts the Three Kings gave to the Baby Jesus remind us of the gifts we pledge for Jesus' Mission through Christ Church. So that we can celebrate your pledge, along with the gifts of the Kings and the pledges of fellow parishioners, please return your pledge card on or before Sunday, January 10.
Speaking of Sunday, January 10, please plan to join the Epiphany Celebration in a special Evensong at 4 p.m. that evening. With the help of the Sunday School, we will hear the story of the wise watchers of the stars, and sing their songs. Our celebration will continue with an Epiphany Party and Rector's Roast Beef Dinner. Please bring an appetizer or dessert to share, and any adult beverage you would like share with your table. Among the sign-up possibilities is King's Cake, the special dessert for Epiphany.
Sign-ups remind me: Please consider signing up, perhaps with another household or group, to host Coffee Hour in the coming months.
In faith and hope,
P.S. #1 January 3 is the last Sunday to "decorate" the Mitten Tree with new or as-good-as-new mittens, gloves, scarves, hats, caps and coats to help keep our neighbors warm as winter temperatures arrive. The tree has been a real delight to the eyes this season; its "decorations" will be distributed through the Guilford Food Bank.
P.S. #2 A December/January issue of "Glad Tidings Online," is now available. In it you'll find information about our Daytime and Evening ECWs, Reports on our diocesan convention from our delegates Jean Valentine and Caroline Herrick, and terrific photos of acolytes at "work.".
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