Christmas 2009

We don’t know the date of Jesus’ birth. That doesn’t stop some scholars from speculating on the exact date – some say winter – some say spring. No one seems to have ever recorded the date. Maybe Jesus never celebrated it. Early Christians, though, thought it was important enough to pick a day. Since the Romans celebrated the feast of the sun god (the days were getting longer) on December 25th, our religious ancestors picked that date to take the sun god worshippers away from paganism and give them a Christian alternative, the birth of Christ, the incarnation.

The lengthening of days was celebrated by our ancient ancestors for superstitious reasons, the sun is returning and will not disappear, and for agricultural reasons. As we settled into towns and stopped a nomad existence due the domestication of crops, the return of the sun meant another planting season is returning and the fear of starvation is reduced.

The return of the sun gave our ancient ancestors hope. The lengthening of days was a time of celebration and hope. So, too, is Christmas. We hear it in our songs: the prince of peace, salvation comes, Lord of lords, wonderful counselor, savior, and others. No matter how bad the year was, as the new year dawns, we have hope. Our hope is centered on a baby in a cattle trough – humble beginnings. In the inauspicious, we see the auspicious.

No matter how bad this past year has been, we have hope. Next year will be better. Our future will be better. Why? Because Jesus has come into the world, to set the world straight, to usher in a new life for all people.

As we approach the time of celebration of Jesus’ birth, we see signs of the recession breaking. Gross GDP is positive. Housing prices are bottoming out. Jobless claims are leveling off. There is hope. And our hope is centered on that baby humbly born, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

We will observe the Christian and Jewish tradition of observing the new day at sunset. So, Christmas Day begins when the sun sets on December 24th. And it is then Christmas.

For this most stupendous gift of Jesus’ birth, we celebrate and worship God, giving thanks to God. We will, principally, do this with three services. On Christmas Eve, the family service and pageant will be at 4 PM. The Christmas Vigil will begin at 9 PM. We will have lessons and carols, ring bells at the Gloria and we will use incense. We continue the celebration at 9 AM on Christmas Day.

The twelve days of Christmas will include the two Sundays following Christmas Day. We will observe the adoration of the wise men at our Epiphany service followed by dinner at 3 PM on January 9th.

The following table lists the services at Our Saviour for Christmastide.

Date

12-24

12-24

12-25

12-27

12-27

12-30

1-3

1-3

1-6

1-9

Day

Thursday

Thursday

Friday

Sunday

Sunday

Wednesday

Sunday

Sunday

Wednesday

Saturday

Time

4:00 PM

9:00 PM

9:00 AM

8:00 AM

10:30 AM

6:00 PM

8:00 AM

10:30 AM

6:00 PM

3:00 PM

Celebration

Christmas Eve Family Service

Vigil of Christmas with incense

Christmas Day

The First Sunday after Christmas

The First Sunday after Christmas

6th Day of Christmas (Celtic Eucharist)

The Second Sunday after Christmas

The Second Sunday after Christmas

The Epiphany (Celtic Eucharist)

The Epiphany (observed)

Have a blessed and glorious Christmas.

 

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