The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you Peace. (Numbers 6: 24-26)

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Return of the Redeemed to Zion

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; thy shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  Isaiah 35: 10
The Old Testament scripture appointed for Christmas I is also from Isaiah:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness--on them light has shined. Isaiah 9: 2  
We, the children of the Adam, the people of The Fall, have walked in a darkness that prevented us from being with God the way He wants us to be.  Into that darkness, comes the hope of the world, and in this act of Grace the darkness is banished and His people rejoice.  We are the redeemed.  We are those who no longer walk in the dark but, through our Faith in Jesus Christ, we sing with joy and bask in His light.

Christmas is not about presents or parties or feeling good about ourselves or even about treating each other nicer because of some kind of "spirit" that makes this time of year special.  These things are secondary to the real reason we celebrate: the birth of our Savior!  It is all about HIM!
Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for see--I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.'  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!'  Luke 2: 9-14
I'll see everyone in Church tonight for Carols and Midnight Mass.

Merry Christmas,
Fr. Michael+

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22 - Only a few days more!

The first stanza of a wonderful Christmas poem "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity":

          This is the month, and this the happy morn, 
          Wherein the Son of Heaven’s eternal King, 
          Of wedded maid and Virgin Mother born, 
          Our great redemption from above did bring; 
          For so the holy sages once did sing,
          That he our deadly forfeit should release, 
          And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.
                                                            John Milton (1608-1674)

          God bless us, every one.
                                  Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol, 1843)

Fr. Michael+

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kay's Christmas Present

Derrick is home!  He actually got into town early, the Army has it's own timetable.  Praise God for his safe return.

Fr. Michael+

The Nativity Pageant and Other Things

Yesterday evening, the youth of Christ Memorial rang in the last week of Advent with a wonderful Nativity Pageant.  Lessons were read, carols were sung and the wee little animals all stayed in their places and looked cute in their costumes.  My thanks go out to all the people who helped make the Pageant such a success, especially to my amazing wife, Samantha.  Good job, everyone!

The Parish Christmas Party following the Pageant was a resounding success and great fun was had by all.  To everyone who brought food: thank you.  To everyone who decorated and organized the food: thank you.  To Jolly Old St. Nick (you know who you are) who showed up to the surprise and glee of all the children: thank you.  And a special thanks go out to Bill and Karen Calvert for all the work and thought and love that went into making last night such a happy and joyous time.

Derrick Hunter is scheduled to arrive at Fort Humbug in Shreveport around Noon today.  Kay is understandably excited to have her son home from Iraq, as are we all.  If you would like to come by the Fort and meet the buses as they arrive, you are welcomed and encouraged to do so.  These men and women have been overseas for quite a long time, and it would be great to be able to welcome them home and give them our thanks for their service.

I hope that y'all are having a blessed Advent.

Fr. Michael+

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Derrick's Home!

Or at least he is in Mississippi.  Kay got a call this evening that he is safely in country and will be home on Monday.  His unit is expected to arrive at Fort Humbug in Shreveport sometime Monday afternoon.  I will post more information here as soon as I get it.

Praise God for his safe return and for all our troops serving in harm's way.

Fr. Michael+

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Polar Journey

About thirty intrepid souls braved the mild Texas winter in order to take a ride on The Polar Express last night.  We drank hot chocolate, sang carols and met the Jolly Old Elf.  My special thanks go out to Bill "Santa's Little Helper" and Karen "Elf First Class" Calvert for organizing and leading this excursion to the North Pole over Texas.  Big kudos go out to Miles Millard for his dancing and singing excellence.  Have a blessed Advent, y'all.

Fr. Michael+

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remember Pearl Harbor

We will celebrate a Mass for all those who fought and died at Pearl Harbor 69 years ago today at 11:55 AM in the Chapel of St. Anne.  We will never forget.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Feast of St. Nicholas

Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea:  Grant, we pray thee, that thy CHurch may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.
Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas, the template upon which our western characters Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Chris Kringle, etc are based.  For more information about Nicholas, try this link on New Advent.

Happy Advent!

Fr. Michael+

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

" incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria virgine..."

Pax vobiscum:

Have you, Dear Reader, ever wondered about the significance of genuflection? Truthfully, most people do not give it much thought, and probably rightly so. Genuflecting, the practice of showing reverence to God by bowing on one knee before God, is not a required part of anyone’s personal piety, but many people consider it an important and tangible way to show deference and respect for our Creator. The same is accomplished with a profound bow (a deep bow made from the hips). The importance of this act of piety resides in its impact upon those who perform it as a means of furthering their relationship with Him who has created them.

You may have noticed, either at Christ Memorial or at another Church you have visited, that during our communal recitation of the Nicene Creed there are those who go down on one knee when we get to this part:

For us and for our salvation
          he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
          he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
          and was made man.
I have heard Christians called “an Easter people”, and that is true because our salvation lies in the death and resurrection of Christ, a sacrifice that He made so that the entirety of Creation might once again be in right relationship with God. But in order to be the Lamb of God whose blood washes us clean, He first had to be a babe, swaddled for warmth against the cool night air and held close to His mother’s breast so that He could feel the safety and comfort of her presence. In order to have Easter, we must first have Christmas. Just as every mother and father should look upon a new child as an extraordinary gift of life, we as a people should look upon this gift of Jesus Christ, born of a virgin so that He might live as one of us and die for our sins, as the greatest gift of all.

Therefore, it is appropriate to genuflect or make a slight bow of the head during the Nicene Creed as a small way of recognizing the significance of the gift of Jesus’ Incarnation to the world. More importantly, however, it reminds us how much God loves us. That He should choose to do this just so that we might gain entry into His Heavenly Kingdom is certainly worthy of acknowledgement not only during this special season of the year, but, indeed, all the year through.

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas, Dear Reader. God bless you and keep you; God make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; God lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Fr. Michael+