Today, within our Christmas Season, we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, traditionally known as “Little Christmas.” In the Orthodox tradition today is Christmas. Today we remember the visit of the Wise Men, the Sages, the Magi who came in search of the meaning of the celestial sign, the star. They came and brought the newborn King the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh; the gifts that signify the identity of Jesus. Significant to our Christmas story is the acknowledgement of Jesus by the Gentiles. Today’s feast focuses on the Star. “Oh star of wonder, star of night, star that shines with Jesus’ light, open our minds to see you present in new sights. Celebrating Epiphany invites us to stretch our minds to include people, ways of thinking, and ways of living beyond our current perceptions. That is the way of our God whose light shines on all people coming from all lands. In the second reading St. Paul makes clear, “that Gentiles are now coheirs, members of the same Body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” These words challenged and stretched the hearts of the early Jewish Christians. The light of Christ challenges us to more inclusive ways of thinking.
As we celebrate “Little Christmas,” this weekend, I once again want to thank all parishioners for their generous gifts of cookies, sweets, and gifts. On my first Christmas as your pastor I truly appreciated your kindness and thoughtfulness. Today I would like to invite you to take home one of the beautiful Christmas Poinsettias from Church. We have some plastic bags to protect them from the cold for your convenience. While it will be sad to see them go, it gives us something to look forward to next Christmas.
Today we will also be taking down our Christmas decorations throughout the Church following the 10:00am Mass. I invite you to lend a hand and help to take down the trees, the manger, the decorations and help us to clean up. Many hands make light work. If you have an hour to spare this Sunday, please join me.
On Monday this week we celebrate the ‘official’ end to the Christmas season with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. On Monday we enter a brief season of Ordinary Time where we begin what I describe as our annual Course in Discipleship; learning how to follow Jesus and grow in our relationship with our Lord and Savior. It is brief since Lent is early this year, beginning on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th and culminating with Easter Sunday on April Fool’s Day, April 1st. (I’m sure there’s a sermon idea in there somewhere.)
Finally today, I ask your prayers as we search for a new Music Director for our parish. I want to ensure that he/she will be the best fit for our worshipping community and be able to utilize the magnificent organ, we are blessed to have, to its fullest potential.
God bless! Merry “Little” Christmas!
Remember those 3 Hail Marys