A very merry Christmas to all! I hope everyone had a blessed and joyful Christmas day, and are doing well this Christmastide. It was a busy weekend here at All Saints, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to each and every person who put in time after Morning Prayer on the 24th to make our church beautiful. The results were simply stunning. The feedback from our Christmas Eve service was all excellent.
As we head into the new year we have much to be excited about. Let us continue to pray fervently for our church, our fellow members, and the quad city communities.
I must apologize. It would seem my note about the Holy Days for the church in the last Pews News was a bit confusing. Our Sunday worship will continue as it has been in the past.
In addition, we will be adding Holy Communion on the following days at 6 pm:
1/1 - The Circumcision of Christ
1/6 - Epiphany
2/2 - The presentation of Christ
4/9 - The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary
5/10 - The Ascension
8/6 - The Transfiguration
11/1 - All Saints Day (our name day)
There are roughly 25 Holy Days, that don't necessarily fall on a Sunday, listed in the prayer book, most of them have to do with the life of Christ or the apostles. As we are not in the habit of observing these, I thought a good place to start would be the Holy Days pertaining to the life of Christ, as well as our name day, All Saints, so that we will start to be more aware of these events.
I hope this makes more sense, please let me know if you have any questions.
Upcoming special services
With all that in mind, we have two extra services next week. The first is on Monday, January 1st at 6 PM for the Circumcision of Christ, the Second is on Saturday, January 6th at 6 PM for the Epiphany.
Mark your calendars! Starting January 7th, we will be launching our Christian Education program. We will begin with an adult program giving a broad overview of what it means to be an Anglican Christian. The goal will be to give you a basic understanding of Anglican Christianity, it's theology, historical roots, patterns of worship, and sacramental understanding. This will also allow us to explore what areas we'd like and would be beneficial to dig deeper into down the road. The class will start at 9 am on Sunday, January 7th.
Other upcoming events
- The office is closed and there will be no morning prayer on January 1st.
- The ladies guild is meeting on January 5th at 11 AM in the parish hall.
- The vestry will be meeting on January 14th after the service.
- The Annual Parish meeting will be on January 21st after the service, please make every effort to attend this.
A thought on Christmastide
Despite the wonderfully fun song "the twelve days of Christmas" we often forget that Christmas is, in fact, twelve days long. For many, the Christmas tree goes up on the day after Thanksgiving and down it comes on December 26th and that is that.
The traditional observance of Christmas runs from December 25th to January 5th and then January 6th is The Epiphany, or perhaps more properly named, the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles. This referring to the day when the wise men arrive to worship Christ.
The week and a half period, known as Christmastide, is given to celebrating, and remembering the incarnation, the coming into the world of the Christ, the Word made flesh. With that in mind, it is no wonder that Christmas lasts not just one day but a whole twelve.
Just as Advent is a period of preparing for the coming of the Lord into the world, Christmastide and Epiphany are seasons of rejoicing that he has done just that and that we can know Him through the word. It is a good time to think about that which we are grateful for, to reflect on what this coming into the world means for us, and how this fact will help us better serve Him in the year to come.
With all that in mind, the church stays decorated throughout this season of Christmas, we continue singing Christmas hymns and praying Christmas prayers.
May this Christmastide be a time of blessing and joy for each and every one of you. I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday.
Fr. Ian Emile Dunn
All Saints Anglican Church