CHRIST IS BORN!
These three words from the Canon of Christmas—CHRIST IS BORN!—are the most precious announcement of heaven to the world and, in particular, to all mankind. Heaven, the angels, and the Church speak abut something that is happening now, occurring before our eyes and affecting each of us personally. Being born is He Who has been anointed by God with the mission to raise us up from our spiritual shortcomings and our lapses in ethical decisions. Christ is born for each and every one of us and for this reason our Church encourages us to “give glory”. That is, to glorify God Who in the “fullness of time sent forth His Son” and that, for us, the time is now! To the instruction that we “give glory”, our Church adds another dimension calling us to “meet Him”. We are directed to run, to prepare ourselves to truly meet Him, to receive Him as the Son of God. We are called to “lift ourselves up”, which means for us to disassociate ourselves from those worldly experiences which have held us down and to spiritually lift ourselves up to a higher plain since He comes down to meet us from Heaven. To “give glory” is not to be done merely with our voices but rather with our total body which is the “dwelling place of the Holy Spirit” and our soul. Our every act and thought must reflect this belief that we belong to God. The emotional call to “lift ourselves up” invites us to take advantage of the fact that Christ comes to “raise up the previously fallen image” of mankind. A careful self-examination of our spiritual and moral transgression cautions us to observe Christmas in the true Christian fashion. May we glorify His name which stands higher than every great name and may we respond to Christ’s words found in the Book of Revelation: “I stand at the door and knock”. As this very moment let us make every attempt to lift ourselves up to the heavens and join the choir of angels that sing: “GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!
SUNDAY SCHOOLS SHOWCASE CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS TODAY
The youth of our Sunday Schools will present their SUNDAY SCHOOL CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS TODAY immediately following Divine Liturgy at both churches. Please plan on remaining after services as our youth delight us with their holiday presentations; refreshments will be offered following the programs!
'CHRISTINA BOOK SALE' AT HOLY TRINITY
After enjoying the Christmas program at Holy Trinity, come into the fellowship hall for the youth-sponsored “CHRISTINA BOOK SALE” (it was held last Sunday at Prophet Elias). Proceeds from the book sales will benefit the ministries of Palestinian Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land. We thank those who supported last week’s bake sales also; monies raised will assist Melina and Alexia Sitaras, who were in a horrific automobile accident this past summer. We are pleased to report that both Melina and Alexia are improving from their injuries and have been released from the hospital. However, they are still undergoing extensive rehabilitation.
ESPECIALLY FOR OUR COLLEGE STUDENTS!
OCF will be hosting a WHITE ELEPHANT CHRISTMAS PARTY THIS EVENING at 6pm at Holy Trinity. Please limit your white elephant gift cost to $5. Let’s get together to celebrate the holidays and celebrate great friendships, too! OCF will also kick off the NEW YEAR by SKATING at the Gallivan Center on Wednesday, January 6 at 6:30pm.
JR. GOYANS SUPPORT LOCAL SHELTERS
In keeping with THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON, JUNIOR GOYA will be collecting hats, gloves, and scarves for donations to local shelters during the remainder of this month. Drop-off tables will be available during coffee hour. May we be mindful of those less fortunate, so please join the Junior Goyans in their effort!
TAKE NOTE OF 'THE WORD' DEADLINE NOTICE
Please take note that the DECEMBER 27 AND JANUARY 3 Sunday bulletins, THE WORD, will be ONE COMBINED Sunday bulletin for those two Sundays only. Due to the holidays, you must have any announcements you wish included in this combined weekly bulletin submitted to Presbytera Denise by TOMORROW no later than 2pm. (For all other weekly bulletins, however, the deadline remains Tuesdays by 4pm unless otherwise noted.)
OFFICES CLOSE FOR CHRISTMAS
Please be aware that the Holy Trinity and Prophet Elias Offices will CLOSE at noon on Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. The offices will re-open on Monday, December 28.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES EXPLAINED
There have been some inquiries regarding the church services which will be held on Christmas Eve morning (see the complete schedule below). The Christmas Eve MORNING services at both churches are NOT the actual celebration of the Nativity of Christ. Rather, the morning Liturgies anticipate the Feast of Christmas itself — they are a preparation, an instruction, a praise which ‘welcomes’ the holy event of Christ’s Birth. However, the Christmas Eve NIGHT Divine Liturgies at both churches are, in fact, the celebration of the Holy Nativity of our Lord. Likewise, Divine Liturgy will be offered on Christmas morning at Prophet Elias for those who wish to attend at that time, rather than the night before on Christmas Eve.
LET US ALL GATHER AT CHURCH TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
The SERVICES in preparation for the HOLY NATIVITY OF OUR LORD will begin with a Vesperal Liturgy on Christmas Eve morning (Royal Hours followed by Vesperal Liturgy at Holy Trinity, 8:30am, and Orthros followed by Vesperal Liturgy at Prophet Elias, 8am).
On Christmas Eve night, Divine Liturgy commemorating our LORD’S NATIVITY will begin with Orthros at 7pm at both churches followed by Divine Liturgy at 8pm. If you wish to receive Holy Communion at this evening Liturgy, please refrain from eating or drinking after 12:00 noon. For those who wish to attend Divine Liturgy on Christmas Day, December 25, there will be services at Prophet Elias only, with Orthros, followed by Divine Liturgy, beginning at 8am.
MAY THE LIGHT OF CHRIST SHINE IN OUR SOULS
When we see the FIRST STAR appear on CHRISTMAS EVE, may it bring to mind both the star which led the Magi to Bethlehem and Christ Who is the True Light. May this day also be a day of fast in our souls: let us abstain from all bad or useless thoughts and speech, and await in silence and composure the Savior Who is coming to us. Darkness falls. Soon the first star will rise and mark, according to the Church calendar, the start of the new day and of the great feast of Christmas. With the rising of this star, may the LIGHT OF OUR LORD shine brightly in our souls now and always.
AFTER CHRISTMAS, THERE IS NO FASTING UNTIL JANUARY 5
Beginning with the celebration of the Feast of Christ’s Birth, there will be NO FASTING again until January 5, which is a strict fast day in preparation for the Feast of Theophany (Epiphany) on January 6.
GOYANS, GET READY TO GLIDE ON THE ICE!
We are going ice skating at the GALLIVAN CENTER on Sunday, December 27 at 4:30pm (please note NEW date and time). The cost is $5 plus $3.50 for skate rental. And don’t forget, too, to bring a new hat, gloves, or socks to donate to The Good Samaritan Project which is sponsored by the Cathedral of the Madeleine.
VASILOPITA SUNDAY FEATURES LOUKOUMADES AT HT, LUNCHEON AT PE
Please mark your calendars for VASILOPITA SUNDAY, which the HOLY TRINITY and PROPHET ELIAS PHILOPTOCHOS’ are hosting on Sunday, January 10. Holy Trinity Philoptochos will sell Loukoumades that day; Prophet Elias Philoptochos will offer a lunch featuring chicken, pilafi, salad, and roll. All proceeds from this annual fundraiser will benefit the children of Saint Basil Academy in Garrison, New York.
MORE NEWS FROM PROPHET ELIAS PHILOPTOCHOS
Get your beautiful, embroidered APRONS before they’re sold out! Prophet Elias Philoptochos is selling these aprons after services on Sundays at Prophet Elias. Barbara Hillas is also taking phone orders, so if you’d like to purchase one, please call her at 604-4884.
LOOKING AHEAD, if you’re interested in attending the CPR CERTIFICATION class sponsored by PE Philoptochos on Tuesday, January 12, you MUST RSVP to Barbara; class size will be limited to approximately 16 individuals. The cost is $10 per person. Look for more information next week!
WITH OUR APOLOGIES...
HOLIDAY GREETINGS.... We apologize to Frank and Patricia Barton and their children Matthew and Alexis for the miscommunication which resulted in their names not being included in our parish Christmas Card which was mailed last week. The Barton family extends warmest holiday greetings to all our parish families!
STEWARDSHIP PACKETS TO BE MAILED SOON
The 2010 STEWARDSHIP COMMITMENT PACKETS will be mailed on January 4. This mailing will be proceeded by STEWARDSHIP AWARENESS MONTH throughout the month of January. May we take seriously the HONOR and RESPONSIBILITY God has given us as stewards. Through our Stewardship Commitment to Christ’s Church, a tangible manifestation is made of our faith and commitment to the Lord as His steward and His child.
ELYSE PANKE WHITE FOUNDATION SPONSORS 'FOREVER PINK PROM'
Help us find a cure for Breast Cancer in our lifetime! The ELYSE PANTKE WHITE FOUNDATION is sponsoring a night of dancing, celebrating and remembering at the FOREVER PINK PROM in January. Please visit elysewhite.org for complete details and to purchase tickets. You may also contact Andrea Rosenkrantz at 718-1414. While this is not a parish fundraiser, this fundraiser is in memory of our dear parishioner, Elyse Pantke White.
SAINT IGNATIUS, who is commemorated TODAY and is called “God-bearer” is thus named because he was held in the arms of God Incarnate, Jesus Christ. On a day when the Lord was teaching His disciples humility, He took a child and placed him among them, saying, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven”. This child was Ignatius. As Bishop of Antioch, Ignatius governed the Church of God as a good shepherd and was the first to introduce antiphonal chanting in the Church, in which two choirs alternate the chanting. This manner of chanting was revealed to Saint Ignatius by the angels in heaven!
FOR THE HEALING OF SOUL AND BODY
Harry, Charlie, Charissa, Warren, Madeline, Kimberly, Pete, Sophia, Nick, Pete, Craig, Andrew, Pete, Jon, Eva, Zach, Kaylie, Angie, Nancy, Tim, Jonathan, Robert