Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
A blessed feast day to you all! Today, at roughly the half way point of the Nativity Fast, we are granted a joyous day, as we - and Orthodox Christians world wide - pause to celebrate St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra, our great and beneficial patron. It is difficult to think of a saint who is more venerated in every corner of the world. Just as an example, in 2017 the relics of the Saint were sent to Russia, and over the course of only a few days 1.75 million people journeyed great distances and stood in line for hours to venerate the St. Nicholas. The same is true wherever he visits, throughout the world.
We are not millions, by any means, but we have seen with our own eyes the love of St. Nicholas. How else to explain how, against all odds, our parish has not only survived but thrived in a place where we were not expected to survive at all? For many of you, how else to explain the strange and completely spiritual journey you have undergone?
Thus, for us anyway, today and the entire weekend we can know great joy as we celebrate our parish feast day. Please make every effort to be present for it, and bring a friend (or friends) to share the joy.
1. The weekend: We will begin with our book study on Saturday afternoon at 5:00 pm. We will begin discussing the book "Becoming Human".
At 6:00 pm on Saturday we will serve Great Vespers for the Feast, and Divine Liturgy for the day on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. You will remember that the music associated with St. Nicholas is especially beautiful. In addition, at the end of Divine Liturgy there will be a Festal anointing.
Following Liturgy on Sunday morning, we will sit down and share a pot luck dinner as we complete the joy of the weekend.
On Wednesday evening at 6:00 pm we will serve small compline, followed by Inquirers Class.
2. If you wish to mark your calendars, our schedule for the Nativity is as follows: On December 24 at 9:00 am we will serve Royal Hours for the Nativity, and then at 7:00 that night the Vigil Service for the Nativity. On Christmas morning at 9:00 am we will have a festal Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of our Lord.
3. Remember to bring food items and personal toiletry articles to the Church to be delivered the the homeless shelter in Murphy at Christmas.
4. Finally, we will bring Thaddeus Wilcox into the Church by the sacrament of Chrismation before Divine Liturgy on December 15. Another joyous occasion!
I hope to see you all this weekend!