At Saint Thomas Church, our Christmas celebrations continue for a full twelve days. Rather than immediately moving on to the next season, we give the mystery of the Incarnation, like a young vintage of wine, the time to breathe. This is a good time to allow ever deeper flavors and meanings of the coming of Christ to emerge.
During the various daily Christmas services, I have noted a running theme in the special readings of the season. The proper preface for the season prays that we might “receive power to become (God’s) children.” And the first letter of John proclaims with great joy: “Beloved, we are God’s children now” (1 John 3:2). These are only two of many instances when our Christmas worship leads us to consider how Christ’s coming as a child in Bethlehem serves to fundamentally expand our identity as children of God. We honor Christ as God’s only Son, yes. Yet, in Christ, we have been given a share in that “son-ship.” The second gift of Christmas is to be named as children of God, united as full-fledged members of a great family, brothers and sisters all, sharing in a common inheritance.
In my household, the presence of our newborn has made me realize the paradoxical power of an infant. As tiny and vulnerable as young Samuel may be, look at how strong he is! For he has certainly taken full possession of my life and my heart!
Young baby Jesus started something similar on Christmas morning, yet on a grand scale. From a meek place, whether it be a manger or a cross, He reigns over all. And we are so very connected because He is our Brother. And, marvelously, He is also our Father. And He has established a great, global household with room enough for billions upon billions, the family of God in which we are blessed to belong.
As we prepare for the Feast of the Epiphany on Sunday, January 6, may we prepare our hearts for the answer to this question: “If it has been revealed that we are children of God, if we are named as heirs, with Christ, of so very much, what would it look like for us to live that way?”
The Feast of the Epiphany
Beginning January 6, we will find ourselves in a new season: the Epiphany Season. Epiphany means manifestation or revelation; in this case, the manifestation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the promised Messiah.
The Feast of the Epiphany follows upon Christ’s Nativity, and in many places (as in some Hispanic countries or in Eastern Orthodoxy) is considered equal or even superior to Christmas. This feast commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles in the persons of the Magi, the three “kings” or “wise men” from the East who followed the star to worship Christ at Bethlehem. It is this event that is specifically celebrated on the day after the twelfth day of Christmas.
This week, we will celebrate this feast on Sunday, January 6, with a Solemn Eucharist at 11am and a Solemn Evensong at 4pm, both sung by the Gentlemen of the Choir.
“Portraits of Immigrants: Unknown Faces, Untold Stories”
A Special Exhibition of Portraits in Andrew Hall, free and open to the public.
Weekdays 10am – 5pm
Tues. Jan 22nd – Fri. Feb 15th
Portraits of Immigrants: Unknown Faces, Untold Stories is an exhibition of oil portraits and stories of immigrants – men and women of all ages, from a variety of countries, religions, and cultures, showing why each came here, what sacrifices or challenges it took to make the journey and settle in, and what each has accomplished since.
Sparked by the maligning of immigrants she heard during the 2016 election, artist/journalist Betsy Ashton decided to try to find out who today’s immigrants really are. Starting in her own neighborhood, these are the people she found.
Portraits of Immigrants: Unknown Faces, Untold Stories is an exhibition about love rather than hate. It explores the humanity, the hopes and dreams, struggles and fears, and some very impressive achievements, of men and women from different countries and cultures, who came to America for a variety of reasons and now make their home here.
An Opening Reception for “Portraits of Immigrants” will be held in Andrew Hall on Saturday, January 19 from 6:30-8:00pm. Please RSVP to Father Moretz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pilgrims’ Course 2019
Newcomers to Saint Thomas Church and those not yet members of the parish are invited to our “PILGRIMS’ COURSE,” which is a comprehensive introduction to the Christian faith, as received and understood by the Episcopal Church.
The first session is on Tuesday, January 15 at 6:30pm. For 2019, each evening will begin with a simple meal at 6:30pm and the class will run from 7-8pm. The sessions continue on most Tuesday evenings through May 7. Although the course is specifically designed for those who are considering confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church, it is fitting for anyone who wishes to explore Christianity, or who wishes to be refreshed in their faith. Everyone is welcome.
It is important that we know who is coming to help us with catering. Please email us at pilgrims@SaintThomasChurch.org if you wish to attend the class and have a meal. Also, please let us know if you have any dietary requirements.