Friday, December 30, 2011

On the Sixth Day of Christmas I began to look forward

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and we all turn our attention ahead to a new year while glancing back at the past year with mixed emotions. In my case 2011 is the year I lost my mother but it is also the year in which my (Christ’s really as I am just a servant) ministry has begun to flourish with attendance at Church services (all services) and Bible studies on the rise. I will remember 2011 as a year of sorrow and joy as our parish buried two founding members while making plans to celebrate our golden anniversary (50 years of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ). A year of mixed emotions is really a year of total experience. Life cannot exist as joy without sorrow. In Orthodoxy we call this “joyful-sorrow” and it signifies our spiritual journey of struggle hand-in-hand with victory. The Christian life IS a life of joyful-sorrow.
So while we look ahead to the next year we MUST, if we are dedicated Christians, look forward to moving closer to God. In his letter to the Hebrews Saint Paul writes, “here is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7.19) Our Lord came to earth on Christmas (this is only the 6th day of Christmas after all) so that we could be drawn closer to Him through physical communion with Him. This closeness is accomplished in the Eucharist (Holy Communion) which is encountered in the Divine Liturgy.

I invite you to look forward to 2012 with a new dedication to growing closer to God in the Eucharist and the Orthodox Church. You may be reading this blog wondering if you would be “happy” attending an Orthodox Church or you may be reading this blog as a faithful Orthodox Christian wondering how you can grow closer to God. For both I invite you to embrace the spiritual struggle that IS Orthodox Christianity. Read Holy Scripture every day. Fast every Wednesday and Friday, and the other fasting days of the Church. Bring a tithe (10%) of your income to the Church to express your thanks to God and give alms to charities that uphold the Christian love. Above all be in Church as often as you are able.

Christ is born; Glorify Him!

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