Epistle: Hebrews 11:9-10, 17-23, 32-40
Gospel: Matthew 1:1-25
Schedule of Services:
-Saturday, December 24th (Christmas Eve) Great Compline at 4pm.
-Sunday, December 25th (Nativity) Divine Liturgy at 10am. Hours begin at 9:40am.
-Memory eternal to Anitol and Tamara, the parents of Nellie Eyerman!
-Thank you, Nellie, for hosting coffee hour today!
-Today, Sunday School will be in session. The lesson will begin upstairs in the church.
-Please don't forget the needy! Shop Rite gift cards and non perishable staples are greatly appreciated.
-Please feel free to bring some Christmas cookies to share after Divine Liturgy next Sunday.
-A coffee hour sign-up sheet for 2023 has been posted on the freezer. Please consider hosting a coffee hour in 2023. Thank you!
-Again, on Christmas Eve we will celebrate Great Compline with hymns from the Matins service at 4pm, and Divine Liturgy will be held on Christmas Day at 10am.
-Please be sure to note the service times for Nativity. Again, Christmas Eve Compline at 4pm. Divine Liturgy on Christmas at 10am, as usual.
Living: Paul, Melissa, Helen, John, Darlette, Steven, Janet, Teresa, Irina, Alla, Ira, Victor, the Reader Christopher; the suffering people and innocent victims of the Ukrainian/Russian war; the suffering people of Yemen, Syria, and Palestine.
Departed: Anitol and Tamara
Words for the Day:
As God illumines all people equally with the light of the sun, so do those who desire to imitate God let shine an equal ray of love on all people. For wherever love disappears, hatred immediately appears in its place. And if God is love, then hatred is the devil. Therefore as one who has love has God within himself, so he who has hatred within himself nurtures the devil within himself.
(St. Basil the Great, Homily on Asceticism, 3)
Christ restores the image of God in human beings, being Himself God’s uncreated and eternal Image, by becoming a real human being, the “last” and final “Adam”, the “Man from heaven.” As the second and final Adam, Jesus does everything that the first and original Adam was called—but failed—to do. He obeys God. He honors His Name. He delights in His presence. He adores His divinity. He gives thanks for His gifts. He speaks His words. He does His works. He accomplishes His will. And so He fulfills Himself in a human manner as one made in God’s image and likeness. But being the Son of God Himself, God’s uncreated Image and Word, His accomplishment extends to all human beings and is made fully and freely available to all people. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). For Adam himself was but “a type of the One who was to come” (Rom. 5:14). This is Jesus. This is the message of Christmas. There is a new Adam. There is a restored image of God. It is a restored image of the Image Himself, God’s Son and Word, Jesus Christ. In Him humankind has found its fulfillment and perfection. In Him human beings can live. In Him all people can complete themselves as creatures made to be by God’s grace all that God Himself is by nature. In Him all people can be human.
Fr. Thomas Hopko, The Winter Pascha, pgs. 82-83
Next Week’s Readings:
Epistle: Galatians 4:4-7. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.