Prosfora: D. Federinko
Altar Servers: V. Weis, B. Garber
Greeter(s): D. Short
Epistle: M. Pearson
Donut Sponsor(s): Topalov
Chapel Vacuum: Need volunteer
Candle care: Need volunteer
Counters: B. Lootens, J. Wiese
9:00am Hours: M. Pearson
9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. Chrysostom
11:15am Installation of the Parish Council
11:30am Fellowship Hour: Potluck
11:45am Altarboy/Altar server training meeting
Hymns & Readings:
Tone 6 Troparion (Resurrection)
The angelic powers were at Your tomb; the guards became as dead men. Mary stood by Your grave, seeking Your most pure body. You took captive hell, not being tempted by it. You came to the Virgin, granting life. O Lord, Who rose from the dead, glory to You.
Tone 4 Troparion (Nativity)
Your Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone to the world the light of wisdom. For by it, those who worshipped the stars, were taught by a star to adore You, the Sun of righteousness, and to know You, the Orient from on high. O Lord, glory to You!
Tone 3 Kontakion of the Feast
Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. Angels with shepherds glorify Him; the Wise Men journey with the star, since for our sake the eternal God was born as a little Child!
Tone 6 Prokeimenon
O Lord, save Your people, and bless Your inheritance!
Hymn to the Theotokos
Magnify, O my soul, the most-pure Virgin Theotokos, more honorable and more glorious than the heavenly hosts. I behold a strange, most glorious mystery: heaven—the cave; the cherubic throne—the Virgin; the manger—the place where Christ lay—the uncontainable God, Whom we magnify in song.
Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the highest! Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the just! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Epistle: Galatians 1:11-19
But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.
Gospel: Matthew 2:13-23
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
For Further Reading:
Revelation From God
God condescends whenever He is not seen as He is, but in the way one incapable of beholding Him is able to look upon Him. In this way God reveals Himself by accommodating what He reveals to the weakness of vision of those who behold him. (St. John Chrysostom, On the Incomprehensible Nature of God, p. 3, found in Archimandrite Amilianos’s The Way of the Spirit, p. 323-324)
The Incarnation of the World
Now, since we are delivered from the controversies with the Jews, I shall demonstrate this to you from the New Covenant, so that you will see the agreement of the two covenants. Did you see the prophecy that was made with words? Learn the prophecy that was made with examples; although even this is not yet totally clear, I wonder, what is prophecy by example, and I wonder what is prophecy by word? Shortly, I will make this clear, too. The prophecy that is made by example is the practical prophecy, and the other prophecy is the theoretical prophecy. In other words, the most prudent He persuaded with words, and the most unconscious He informed by showing them examples. Because, in other words, something big was going to happen: God was about to take upon Himself human flesh. Because the earth was going to become heaven and our nature was going to be elevated toward the nobility of the angels. Because the word surpassed the hope and expectation of the future goods that were to come. So he would not confuse the people with the new and paradoxical event of the Incarnation, those who then would have seen it all at once, and those who were going to hear it, for this reason, He iconcially depicted it beforehand with examples and words, and, in this way, He accustomed our hearing and vision. (The Fathers of the Church: St. John Chrysostom on Repentance & Almsgiving, p. 80)
On the Nativity of Christ
In Galilee of the nations, in the country of Zavulon and the land of Naphthalim,
as the prophet said, a great light has shone - Christ.
For the darkened, a shining beam has appeared, blazing out of Bethlehem,
or, rather, out of Mary - the Lord, the sun of justice,
has made his rays dawn on the whole inhabited world.
Therefore let us all, Adam’s naked children,
put him on that we may be kept warm;
for as a covering for the naked and a light for the darkened
you have come, you have appeared,
the unapproachable Light.
(St. Romanos, On the Life of Christ, p. 80)
David the Righteous One
David exclaims, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” A David who achieved so much, who won so many victories, who slew Goliath, strangled a lion barehanded, received great favor from the Holy Spirit, yet imploringly cries out: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving kindness, according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.” One could imagine what the great king was thinking; I was a simple farmer and you made me a king, and when I became a king you appointed me to be a prophet. You made me victorious in war, victorious against Goliath. Not according to my own physical strength, but through the power of faith, which You also gave unto me. You vested me with royal garb and appointed me to a royal throne. You gave me wealth. That which sin hath destroyed, You O God, through Your Grace, gave back to us. “Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways, and ungodly men shall turn to Thee.” You ranked me so high that You gave me the ability and vision to know and prophesy Your only begotten Son. I have been taught that You have a Son begotten of woman, with the same authority as you have. I told of the good news of His crucifixion, His death and descent from the heavens and of His glorious resurrection. I spoke of His trial, of man’s salvation. I foretold of the apostles’ calling.
David thunders, “For behold, Thou lovest truth; Thou has manifested to me the secret and hidden things of Thy wisdom.” The prophet testifies of the Lord’s descent upon the earth: “He shall come down as rain upon a fleece; and as drops falling upon the earth.” (71:8). And truly, when the Son of God descended, He did not arrive via earth-shaking thunderous clamor, He did not bear a pure divine form, He came as a man. Had He come in a pure divine form, neither could the mountains, nor the Sun endure the same. Its light would have been blown out, the earth - destroyed, and all those who dwelleth upon it perished. He came quietly without fanfare. Even his birth was humble, in a Virgin's womb with shepherds and adoring animals as witnesses. (George Dimopoulos, Patristic Orthodox Sermons on the Psalms, p. 37-38)
We ought all of us always to give thanks to God for both the universal and the particular gifts of soul and body that He bestows on us. The universal gifts consist of the four elements and all that comes into being through them, as well as all the marvelous works of God mentioned in the divine Scriptures. The particular gifts consist of all that God has given to each individual.
These include wealth so that one can perform acts of charity; poverty, so that one can endure it with patience and gratitude; authority, so that one can exercise righteous judgment and establish virtue; obedience & service, so that one can more readily attain salvation of soul; health, so that one can assist those in need and undertake work worthy of God, sickness, so that one may earn the crown of patience; spiritual knowledge & strength, so that one may acquire virtue; weakness & ignorance, so that, turning one's back on worldly things, one may be under obedience in stillness and humility; unsought loss of goods and possessions, so that one may deliberately seek to be saved and may be helped when incapable of shedding all one's possessions or even of giving alms; ease & prosperity, so that one may voluntarily struggle and suffer to attain the virtues and thus become dispassionate and fit to save other souls; trials and hardship - so that those who cannot eradicate their own will may be saved in spite of themselves, and those capable of joyful endurance may attain perfection. All these things, even if they are opposed to each other, are nevertheless good when used correctly; but when misused, they are not good, but are harmful for both soul and body. (The Philokalia: Vol. 3, p. 172)
Recent Posts on Fr Ted’s Blog
- Christ is God in the Flesh: In Christ, God is recreating us humans to restore us to what God wants us to be in His creation.
- The Ancestors of Christ the Lord: St. Gregory Palamas says all the generations from Adam to the Virgin Mary were needed to slowly cleanse humanity of its sin to create the pure Virgin.
- The Infant Christ: That poor, defenseless baby wrapped in swaddling clothes is our God.
- Mary, The Virgin Earth: Tertullian writes that as the first Adam was created from virgin soil, so the new Adam, Jesus, was taken from a virgin mother.
- Our Faithful Ancestors in Christ: All the people of God from Adam to Mary were people just like us, yet they are part of God’s plan for our salvation, and they are saved only with us.
- The Incarnation: Recreating Humans: The story of Job prepares us for the incarnation.
- The Christmas Intrusion: Just like the birth of Christ bursts onto the earth with angels singing, disrupting the lives of Mary and Joseph, shepherds, Magi and King Herod, so too Christ’s birth should burst into our spiritual lives.
Wednesday Adult Discussion Group
Our Wednesday morning discussion will not be meeting until January 9 at 11am at which time we will begin discussing a new book, Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture After Genetic Science by Scot McKnight and Dennis R. Venema. We will discuss chapters 7-8 on January 2. You are welcome to join the discussion whether or not you have read the book. If you like to reflect on how the science of genetics is related to the story of Adam and Eve, join our discussion.
Altar Boy/Altar Server Meeting
There will be a meeting for all who serve behind the altar TODAY December 30 at around 11:45am. All altar boys and altar servers should plan to attend. Also, any boys or men who are interested in helping out in this way should also plan to attend. See Victor Weis with questions.
New Year’s Day Liturgy
Staring off the New Year right, we will celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Tuesday, January 1 at 9:30m.
Great Blessing of Water
We will do the Great Blessing of Water for Theophany following the 5pm Saturday (1/5) evening Great Vespers for Theophany. If you bring a container, you can take some of the blessed water home with you Saturday evening. Please join us for Great Vespers and the Great Blessing of Water as we celebrate the Feast of Theophany.
Anyone who wishes to take a poinsettia home today is welcome to do so.
Many Thanks to All of You
Dear Parishioners: With all my heart I thank you for all of your good wishes, prayers and gifts this Christmas season. I thank you for all you do for the parish and for all of your support. I thank you for your kindnesses and criticisms, for they all help to make the parish better. I am the most blessed of priests to have you as my parishioners. You have made my spiritual life and priesthood a joy. May God bless all of you always and in all ways. With Love in Christ, Fr. Ted
St. Paul Prayer Team
If you would like to submit prayer requests for the prayer team, forms can be found on the greeter’s table. Please place requests in the box on the greeter table or by email to email@example.com. If you would like to be a part of praying with the team - and pray daily for others in the parish, or if you have further questions please contact Mark Pearson.
We are giving our December Charity monies to several local families who are in need at this time. Please do pray for those who struggle to make ends meet, and pray that we as a society will show gracious and generous mercy to help them. Give expecting nothing in return is what the Lord Jesus taught us to do.
This Week’s Schedule:
Monday, December 31
Leavetaking of the Nativity. Ven. Melania the Younger of Rome (439).
Readings: James 2:14-26, Mark 12:13-17
8:30am Matins 9am Office Hours
Tuesday, January 1
The Circumcision of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. St. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia (379). Sunday before Theophany.
Readings: 2 Timothy 4:5-8, Mark 1:1-8
9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. Basil
Wednesday, January 2
Forefeast of the Theophany. Repose of Ven. Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov (1833)
Readings: James 3:11-4:6, Mark 12:28-37
NO Matins, Office Hours or Discussion Group
Thursday, January 3
Forefeast of the Theophany. Holy Prophet Malachi (400 B.C.)
Readings: James 4:7-5:9, Mark 12:38-44
Friday, January 4
Forefeast of the Theophany. Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles:
Readings: 1 Peter 1:1-2, 10-12, 2:6-10, Mark 13:1-8
8:30am 1st & 3rd Royal Hours of Theophany 9am Confession
11am 6th & 9th Royal Hours of Theophany
Saturday, January 5
Eve of Theophany. Saturday before Theophany. Hieromartyr Theopemptus, Bishop of Nicomedia, and Martyr Theonas (303)
Readings: 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, Mark 1:9-11
10am Baptisms of the Royer Family 5pm Vespers and the Great Blessing of Water
Sunday, January 6
32nd SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 7. THE HOLY THEOPHANY OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST
Readings: 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, Mark 1:9-11
Prosfora: Nikki G.
Altar Servers: D. Abshear
Greeter(s): MK Smith, M. Adrian
Epistle: L. Short
Donut Sponsor(s): B. Edwards
Chapel Vacuum: S. Osman
Candle care: Garber
Counters: M. Pearson, B. Lootens
9:00am Hours: B. Edwards
9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. Basil
Blessing of Water
11:30am Fellowship Hour: Potluck
11:45am Church School/Youth Group
Upcoming Dates to Remember:
February 2 Presentation of Christ in the Temple
March 11 Great Lent Begins