“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light . . . (Isaiah 9:2)
As we finish our preparations for the feast of Christmas, I share with you this reflection by Henri Nouwen, first published in the book, Lifesigns. It is entitled, “A Divine Gift”
The joy that Jesus offers his disciples is his own joy, which flows from his intimate communion with the One who sent him. It is a joy that does not separate happy days from sad days, successful moments from moments of failure, experiences of honour from experiences of dishonour, passion from resurrection. This joy is a divine gift that does not leave us during time of illness, poverty, oppression, or persecution. It is present even when the world laughs or tortures, robs or maims, fights or kills. It is truly ecstatic, always moving us away from the house of fear into the house of love, and always proclaiming that death no longer has the final say, though its noise remains loud and its devastation visible. The joy of Jesus lifts up life to be celebrated.
Celebration is indeed the word we need here. The divine ecstatic joy of the house of love becomes manifest in celebration. Celebration marks the life of the disciple of Jesus as well as the life of his new community. The disciple leaves behind the old life in search of a new life. For every disciple as well as for the entire fellowship, following the Lord involves celebration, the ongoing, unceasing lifting up of God’s love that has proved itself victorious. Celebration is the concrete way in which God’s ecstatic joy becomes visible among us.
Please join with us as together we celebrate thebirth of Jesus this Christmas Eve (at 4, 7 & 11 p.m.) and Christmas Day (at 9:30 a.m.).
Up and Coming…
Saturday, December 24th:
4 p.m. – Family service
7 p.m. – Candlelight service
11 p.m. – Choral candlelight service
There will be carol singing 15 minutes prior to the 4 and 11 p.m. services
Sunday, December 25th:
9:30 a.m. – Christmas Day service
Saturday, December 31st:
Deadline for donations for 2011 tax year. (Please note the church and office will be closed December 26 to 31. See note below.)
Sunday, January 1st:
8:15 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist and Church School
Gifts to the Community…
Our hats go off to everyone who generously supported all of the Christmas Outreach this year. The family we assist will have a complete Christmas dinner and many gifts to open and Centre 454 received 38 gift bags for their annual Christmas party.
Many thanks to all who took part in the Santa Claus Parade and to those in the crowd who cheered.
The first annual Gingerbread House Decorating event was a huge success! After all their hard work, the F.A.I.T.H. youth group raised over $400 which will be put towards their trip to the CLAY conference in 2012. If you would like to see photographs taken, visit our website’s scrapbook page by clicking on December 2011 events.
The Church School children made their annual visit to Carleton Lodge and took over a big banner which they had made – signed with their hand prints. They also donated a couple of Gingerbread Houses that were lovingly decorated by members of our parish.
Opportunities to Give…
If you are planning on making a year-end donation to St. James, please make sure that your donation is in the locked mail box outside the side door of the church or in the mail by Friday December 30, 2011. Be sure to check out the CRA donations tax credit estimator to see how much tax credit you could receive for your donations to St. James.
In late January 2012, watch for your next newsletter which will contain a link to a Parish Vision Survey that is being prepared by the Steering Committee. We would like as much feedback as possible so please take the time to complete the short survey. To see the latest information concerning planning the future for St. James, click on Parish Vision.