Dear Parish Faithful,
CHRIST IS BORN!
A reminder that we will serve Great Vespers this evening at 7:00 p.m. for the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord and for the commemoration of St. Basil the Great (January 1). Of course, this is also the beginning of the Civil New Year, and we will include the appropriate petitions and prayers seeking the Lord's blessing as we embark upon the uncharted waters of 2011. If you celebrate the New Year by "going out" or socializing, or whatever it may be; the best way is to begin by coming to church and praying to God as the Creator of time and the Author of both life and death. Without God, the New Year will only be "empty," not "happy." I just spent some time with many people who have drifted away from the Church - they seemed scattered and "homeless." We have the great gift of the Church, "the pillar and bulwark of the truth" (I TIM. 3:15), and we must never take this gift for granted. As we celebrate the New Year, we can also soberly assess the fact that we are one year closer to the end of our earthly existence. That end is known only to God, and can come upon us unaware. We would certainly want to be close to God when that end does eventually come. The paschal character of a Christian death transforms that "end" into a "beginning." Therefore, the "mystery of death" is imbued with meaning and hope for a Christian, rather than the meaninglessness and hopelessness endured by a godless world. I have had cause to further reflect upon this over the course of the last few days.