Category Archives: Christmas
By the Rev. Darren Miner
Merry Christmas! Today is a special day for all Christians, but it is an especially special day for the Church of the Incarnation. Since this parish isn’t named after a saint, we don’t have an annual patronal feast. Instead, we have a feast of title, and today is it—the feast of the Incarnation!
If you attend Midnight Mass or a sunrise service in an Episcopal church on Christmas, you get the story of baby Jesus from Luke’s Gospel. But if you attend the main Christmas Day service, you get something very different. Despite the fact that you see a papier-mâché stable in front of the altar, you didn’t, in fact, hear the story of Jesus’ birth in a stable. No shepherds in the field. No angelic host singing, “Gloria in excelsis Deo.” Instead, you got an excerpt from a mystical poem about the doctrine of the Incarnation. To be honest, I miss the charming stories of St. Luke, but this profound poem of St. John is, in fact, the very foundation of the Christian understanding of Jesus Christ. So take a deep breath, and let us plunge into its mystical depths!
As does any good storyteller, St. John begins at the beginning—in this case, the very beginning! While St. Luke starts his Gospel with the birth of a baby prophet, St. John begins with the birth of the Cosmos, and he tells us about the relationship between God and a divine being called “the Word.” This Word existed with God before time itself was created, and all Creation was mediated through him. In the original Greek, the name of this being is Logos. Yes, it can be translated as Word. But it has other translations that are just as pertinent here, such as Reason or Order.
The existence of such a divine Logos was the subject of both Greek and Jewish speculation well before the time of St. John. This pre-existent divine person was understood to be the giver of reason and order to the Universe. He is the one who maintains structure in the face of chaos. He is the one who maintains the possibility of life in the midst of deadly disorder. He is the one who allows for the existence of light in the midst of darkness.
For John, the Logos is also God’s Word spoken to the Cosmos and to us. He is the divine self-expression of God’s love for the whole world. This divine self-expression of God’s love was “spoken” by God at Creation; was proclaimed to Israel by their prophets; walked among us as a preacher of peace; and continues to speak to us in Nature and in Church, in starry sky and in Holy Scripture, in the companionship of a pet and in the Blessed Sacrament. According to John, the unity between God and the Logos is such that one can even say that the Logos is God.
Join the younger boys and girls of the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus in songs for the holidays to lift your spirits and warm your hearts for the winter. Taking part will be the intermediate chorus of the San Francisco Boys Chorus under their Director, Ildikó Thész Salgado, and Level III of the San Francisco Girls Chorus under their Director Luçik Aprahämian. For more information click here
Date & Time: Sunday December 11, 7 pm
Venue: Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco
Donations: $20 General, $15 Seniors/Students
Buy tickets online
2015 Christmas message from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA
“As the words were spoken on that night when Jesus was born, peace, good will to all people, God bless you, God keep you,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry says in his Christmas 2015 message.
2015 Christmas message from the General Secretary of the World council of Churches.
“As Christians we share the belief that we see in the other the image of Christ himself (Matthew 25:31-46) … The experience of migration and crossing of borders is known to the Church of Christ. The Holy Family were refugees; the very Incarnation of Our Lord is a crossing of the border between the Human and the Divine.”
“As churches this is an opportunity to share more widely experience and expertise in offering spiritual and pastoral support, ecumenical and interfaith cooperation and building bridges between diverse communities.”
At this time of the Christian year, we remember God’s great love for the world in the gift of Jesus Christ. And we read once again of the flight of his family in search of a safer place than home. We also remember the Master’s later teaching, as recorded in Matthew 25:40,
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
In this festival season celebrating the Incarnation in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, let us honour every gift we receive from God in Creation, and let us respect every member of the human family!
Read the full text here http://www.oikoumene.org/…/messages-…/christmas-message-2015