Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
We’re now just a week away from the Feast of Nativity! Have you looked at the schedule of services to see when your family will be participating? With so many other commitments at this time of year, it’s important to plan ahead. Just look at this edition of the newsletter or check out our website calendar.
The Fast Continues
This Fast is divided into two periods: The first is November 15th through December 19th when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, wine, and olive oil) is observed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with a blessing for wine and olive oil (some also permit fish) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and for fish, wine, and olive oil on Saturdays and Sundays. The second is the period of the Forefeast, December 20th through 24th, when the traditional fasting discipline is observed Monday through Friday, with a blessing for wine and olive oil on Saturday and Sunday. Many American Orthodox Christians break the fast on Thanksgiving Day, but you need get a blessing from your spiritual father for that (and you need to remember that it’s Thanksgiving Day and not Thanksgiving Very Long Weekend).
Monday, December 17-Friday, December 21
(Please remember because life in our parish community can be pretty busy, sometimes the starting times for the daily services has to be shifted. So, if you know ahead of time that you will be attending a particular service, it’s always a good idea to send Father Aidan a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm when the service will actually begin.)
Wednesday, December 19
The Final Nativity Paraclesis 7pm
Saturday, December 22
Great Vespers 6pm
As usual, the Mystery of Holy Confession will be available following Great Vespers, but that will also be the final opportunity to participate in this holy mystery prior to the Feast of Nativity
Sunday, December 23
The Sunday Before Nativity
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children Noon
Monday, December 24
Royal Hours 9am
Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St Basil Noon
Tuesday, December 25
The Feast of Nativity
Divine Liturgy 10am
(Please note that there will not be a Fellowship Hour following the services)
Wednesday, December 26-Friday, December 28
No Daily Services
As you finish up your holiday shopping list, don’t forget about Christ The Lightgiver Bookstore. The bookstore has lots of great gift items in addition to a wide selection of books and icons. The store is open every Sunday during Fellowship Hour, but you can always get in touch with our hard-working manager, Stephanie Crown, and ask a question or place an order during the week.
The 2019 Parish Calendars are also available in the bookstore. Please just take one until everyone in the parish has had the opportunity to get one. Also, please be sure and thank the Hardins and the Bays who, once again, sponsored our calendar.
Remember, the Feast of Nativity kicks off an entire festal season, and that season includes our major celebrations. After Nativity, the second feast of the season will fall on January 1; that’s when we will celebrate the Feast of the Circumcision. We will offer Great Vespers for the feast on Monday, December 31, at 7pm, and, on Tuesday, January 1, we will serve Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am. The next celebration of the season will be just five days later when we will observe the Great Feast of Theophany. We will follow the regular weekend schedule on Saturday, January 5, and Sunday, January 6, but, on that Sunday, Bishop Basil will be joining us. His Grace will serve a Hierarchial Divine Liturgy along with the Great Blessing of the Waters and the Ordination to the Holy Diaconate of Michael Coleman.
At the conclusion of this week’s newsletter, you’ll find the 2019 House Blessing Schedule. It may seem early, but if you will go ahead and write your assigned date on the calendar or enter it into your phone, we’ll have a much better chance of actually making it all happen. If you already know that your assigned date won’t work for you, send me an email right away at email@example.com, so we can see about fitting you in at some other point in the schedule.
We’ve wrapped up the St Thomas School for 2018, and it’s been a great experience. We are almost finished with the second volume of Metropolitan Hilarion’s introduction to Holy Orthodoxy. The teaching and the discussion have been very, very good, so if you haven’t been participating, you really are missing out on an incredible opportunity. The school will resume on Saturday, January 19; Michael Brown will lead the discussion about what the Church teaches concerning death (that’s chapter 27 in the book), but we will be starting Volume III, Architecture, Icons, and Music, on Saturday, March 3, and that would be a great time to get back into (or start up with) this great school.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
We need to remember not to over-load the candle trays that are just inside the door to the nave. The ushers will let you know when the trays are full, but you can always go up to the iconostasis and place your candle in one of those trays. Just wait for a time when the deacon and priest are both inside the altar, and then go ahead and light your candle and offer your prayers.
May this final week of the Nativity Fast be blessed for our salvation and the salvation of all the world.
An unworthy priest,