SUNDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS SUNDAY OF THE ANCESTORS DECEMBER 21, 2014

18 12 2014

Saturday, Dec. 20
4:00 PM Peter Phillips, Sr. – Son Peter & Vivian Phillips

Sunday, Dec. 21 SUNDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS – HOLY FATHERS
8:30 AM God’s Blessings and Good Health for all Parishioners

Wednesday, December 24 ~ CHRISTMAS EVE – VIGIL OF CHRISTMAS – 5:00 PM
Great Compline Litia Service – Z Namy Boh – Divine Liturgy –
Anointing of Holy Oil and Myrovania
God’s Blessings and Good Health for all Parishioners

Thursday, December 25 ~ Christmas Day – NATIVITY OF OUR LORD – 8:30 AM
Divine Liturgy – Anointing of Holy Oil and Myrovania
God’s Blessings and Good Health for all Parishioners

Friday, Dec. 26 SYNOXIS OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
4:00 PM Leonard Wujcik and Son Larry – Dorothy Wujcik

Saturday, Dec. 27 ST. STEPHEN, PROTOMARTYR
4:00 PM Good Health for Helen Youells – Dempsey Family

Sunday, Dec. 28 SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS
8:30 AM God’s Blessings and Good Health for all Parishioners

Transfiguration of Our Lord Schedule
Saturday Liturgy is 6:00 PM ~ Sunday Liturgy is 10:30 AM
Wednesday, Dec. 24 ~ Christmas Eve ~ 8:00 PM
Thursday, Dec. 25 Christmas Day ~ 10:30 AM

THE LEDGEND OF THE HOLLY
The news of Christ’s birth soon spread throughout the land. King Herod had heard of the glorious event and, feeling threatened by this new King of Kings, had sent his soldiers in pursuit of Him. Joseph gathered together his little family and fled from Bethlehem.
As they were traveling down an old dirt road, Mary heard the sound of the soldiers behind them. Knowing that they would be searching for a man and woman with a baby, she decided to hide her child until the soldiers had passed.
Looking quickly around, Mary felt her heart sink within her. There was nothing nearby but a bare little holly bush. Every second, the hooves of the soldier’s horses thundered nearer and nearer. In desperation, she placed her precious child beneath the bush and prayed.
But then, a wondrous thing happened. The scraggly little plant burst forth with a crown of glistening, thorny leaves. The spiky leaved bush formed a roof over the baby, hiding him completely. When the soldiers rode by, they saw only the couple who appeared to be childless and continued on their way, leaving the Christ Child in safety and peace.
It was then that the Babe blessed the holly so that it would always remain green … a symbol of hope and immortality to all. And the berries the holly bore would always be blood red. For of all the plants that grow, the holly alone, for one brief moment, had held the Christ Child in its heart.

THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD AN UNFATHOMABLE MYSTERY
The greatest and most profound mystery of the Christian faith is the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The eternal God becomes a little infant and does not cease to be God. “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us” – says St. John the Evangelist. Christ’s nativity is the cradle of our faith. Only faith is able to accept this unfathomable mystery, understand it and adore it.
In the first centuries, the holy Fathers of the Eastern Church accepted the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God with profound faith and great piety. Enraptured by this mystery, they have nothing but words of wonder for the most wonderful love of God, the sacrifice, humility, and poverty of the newly born Messiah and Savior. Like the holy Fathers, in her Christmas celebrations our Church also joyfully praises and glorifies the mystery of the birth of the divine Infant. Today, he who is invisible by nature became visible in the flesh for man’s sake; hence, glorifying him, we cry: “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will…”

Picture yourself perched excitedly at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning, like a little child who is waiting to come down and look at his presents. When the moment finally arrives, you rush down the stairs to find a whole stack of gifts with your name on them. Some are in a neat little pile, while others are hidden, waiting for you to find them.
Even though all the gifts are beautifully wrapped, the contents of each package are clearly labeled on the front: Patience. Wisdom. Fortitude. Humility. Peace. And then there is the biggest box of all: JOY. You immediately understand where these gifts came from—your heavenly Father. He knows just what you need and has given it all to you.
Which gift will you open first? Why not start with the biggest gift? So you go to the package that has “JOY” written on the side and open it excitedly.
Immediately you are filled with a beautiful warmth, a heartfelt, sincere delight that emanates from the center of your soul. This is more than just happiness, for that is a more fleeting and superficial feeling. This joy is deep-rooted, life affirming, and wholesome. It’s like having an eternal flame of contentment inside that can’t be extinguished. What a marvelous gift!
Joy is the perfect gift to open first. From the Annunciation to Mary to the birth of Jesus, we have heard the angels reminding us of the joy that God wants us to have. “Joy to the World!” is not just a popular Christmas carol but God’s promise to us. He is offering us the joy that comes because Jesus has not only entered the world; He has entered our hearts! In a sense, joy is also the basis for all the other gifts. With joy come peace, patience, courage, and so much more.
This Christmas, rejoice in God’s goodness. Then take that gift of joy with you as you enter the New Year so that you can share it with all the people God puts in your path.
‘LORD, THANK YOU FOR YOUR GIFT OF JOY! HELP ME CARRY THIS GIFT WITH ME AND PASS IT ON TO ALL MY FRIENDS—EVEN MY EMEMIES.

SANCTUARY LIGHT: The Sanctuary light is requested to burn this week Dec. 20-27 by Ann Beshada in memory of parents John & Mary Conniff.

CHURCH HELP: This Sunday the Nativity will be set up for our parish. Please, if you can possibly help in this project, come and share in the beauty of Christmas. The time will be about 1:00 PM and if we get the help it will not take very long.

CHRISTMAS SERVICES: Please try to attend your church for the Christmas services. Christmas Eve is 5:00 PM and Christmas Day 8:30 AM.
It makes it so much more spiritual with a full church for the services.

BIRTHDAY GREETINGS: Our sincere Birthday Greetings are extended to Julia Wido who will celebrate her 90th Birthday on December 21st. May God grant her many more happy, healthy years. Mnohya Lita!

ST. MARY’S BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CENTER International Dinner Club, 320 Mifflin Ave. Scranton, Pa. will be featuring the PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH Cuisine on January 8, 2015. Seating will be 5:30 and 6:30pm. The menu will start with a Potato and Leek Soup and Roasted Red Beet Salad with goat cheese and champagne vinaigrette. The entrée will be Pork Snitzel served over warm apple & cabbage slaw with spatzle. The dessert will be an Apple Dumpling served warm with a salted caramel sauce. Coffee, tea, water and soda are included. Cash bar is available. The drink special is Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog (Alcoholic). Reservations can be made before January 5, 2015 and the price is only $20.00 per person.

JANUARY HOLY SUPPER: Our Ukrainian Holy supper will be held on Sunday, Jan. 4th in the Church Hall. If you signed in to attend please enter your cover dish you wish to contribute. The Fish and Pyrohys will be provided. The dish is to be meatless and whatever you desire to bring.

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