Monday, October 19, 2015

English Congregation’s Calendar 


Advent – Christmas – Epiphany Year C

November 29      Advent Candle of Hope, A Prophet's Prayer of Hope

December 6    Advent Candle of Peace, Shepherds Behold a Great Light

December 13      Advent Candle of Joy, Shepherds’ Lessons and Carols

December 20      Advent Candle of Love, Waiting for our Savior’s Love

December 24               Combined English & Chinese 
                                    Christmas Eve Candle Light Service 8PM

December 25                English Christmas Service at 9:30AM
                                      Father Barker

December 27                First Sunday after Christmas
                                     Father Barker 

                                [Dec 28 Father Barker departs for Home Leave]

Do you hear what I hear?     See, what I see?

   “The people who walked in darkness, have seen a great light..." 

Monday, December 28, 2015, I will fly home to my family in Scottsdale, Arizona to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. 

Yet, before I go, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the 1st Sunday in Christmas, 27 December, I will be proclaiming again, news of great joy that is for all people. 

This year I am conscious, humbled, and in awe that for more than 50 years, I have proclaimed the good news that God’s light shines in our darkness.

Each of these years, I am ever hopeful that God’s love and light will even now be felt and known to people who still walk in cruel, cold darkness.

Like shepherds sitting on a dark, lonely, cold, hillside, on that first Christmas Eve, we too are afraid and are exposed to the cold realities of life without shelter from its threats and fears..  Many of us are without cover from cold, cruel loses of love ones.  Some of us are without cover for our aging bodies; still more of us are without cover from youthful blemishes that mirror our vulnerabilities. 

In the end, so many of us find no light this Christmas season to warm us from cold despair of break ups and breakdowns.

Yet, we all, young and old alike continue to hope for light that drives the darkness away.  We come longing to see and hear the wonderful, dazzling message that God is born into our world; that we are indeed not alone, that God is with us.  

Hark! The herald angels sing …Light and life to all he brings

The angel cries, “Hark! Listen UP!”  “Be not afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that shall be for all the people.”

Listen, the angel sings, “Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings.  Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die, born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.”
Light and life to all he brings…the light shines on all of us.  The light’s glow ignites in us a flame as well.  We too shine in the darkness.  We come to the manger to embrace Jesus, our Immanuel.  Who can resist wanting to “hold” the newborn babe?  We are encouraged to give our hearts to the Christ child.  Be not afraid! See the light?  It shines in His face.  It shines in the darkness again, and again, and again!

Good News of Great Joy that is for all the people

Tomorrow, I will eat, “tangyuan” with my Taiwanese friends, to mark with sweetness the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.  Sweetness and togetherness in the deep darkness of winter is really what we celebrate this week at the manger and beyond it.

The Angel Gabriel calls the shepherds and us to come to the manger, and to Christmas Day worship, and on the first Sunday of Christmas celebrations, to see anew in the face of the Christ child whose innocence and sweetness calls us to taste, to see how we are esteemed by Heaven.

Joy, to the world!
The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King,
Let every heart prepare him room,
For now, heaven and nature sings together!

As many of our church fathers taught us, 
“God becomes a human child that we may become God’s divine children.”  God becomes one of us, so that we are enabled to become one like Him.

Love is born at Christmas time.  Love’s light drives out all darkness.
May each of you be reborn in Love during this Christmas time!
May you shine brightly in the darkness all the days of your life!     Love and Peace be with you all, always.  Amen.

Father Herbert    December 21, 2015

January 3                  Second Sunday after Christmas
                                 Father Tom Reese, Supply from New York

January 10                First Sunday after Epiphany
                                 Father Tom Reese, Supply from New York

January 17                 Second Sunday after Epiphany
                                 Father Tom Reese, Supply from New York

January 24                 Third Sunday after Epiphany
                                 Combined English-Chinese Service
                                  The Rev. Philip Lin Li-Feng, Rector 

January 31                Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
                                The Rev. Philiip Lin Li-Feng, Rector

February 7               Last Sunday after Epiphany 
                               The Rev. Philip Lin Li-Feng

February 14              First Sunday in Lent
                                 Father Herbert Barker