The austerity of the Advent season ended on Christmas Eve with a beautiful service. The altar guild had outdid themselves and the church looked resplendent with greenery, flowers, candles, and red ribbons everywhere. Bishop Hartley brought evergreens, holly, and ivy for the Advent wreath and altar and we had the traditional red poinsettias and red and white altar flowers; altar and vestment colors are white and gold. The service began with the congregation singing Christmas carols with Kip Smith at the organ, followed by the Christmas Eve liturgy and Holy Communion. We were glad to have college students with us for the service. Jennifer Berthold and her roommate were here from College of the Ozarks, Chandler Connell from MSU, and Lincoln Connell was here from West Point looking handsome in his dress gray uniform.
Sunday, December 29 was the First Sunday after Christmas and the church continues to look wonderful with Christmas decorations and the Christ candle is lit as well as all the Advent candles. In his sermon, Bishop Hartley spoke of the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, God made man and dwelling with us. In the Epistle for the day, Galatians 4:1, St. Paul tells the people of Galatia, who were Gauls not Jews, that they (and we) are heirs of the Jewish God through Jesus. The Gospel for the day, St. Matthew 1:18 tells how this is possible: the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him that Mary would conceive through the Holy Spirit and bear a son who would save the world from sin.
In announcement, Bishop Hartley announced that we are suspending Wednesday evening services through January because of the bad weather. We were glad to have Lincoln Connell still with us from West Point, as well as, his girlfriend Hannah visiting for the Christmas season. On Saturday afternoon I drove to Norwood for an open house the Connells were hosting in Lincoln’s honor and had a good visit, as well as, lots of excellent food.
For information on St. Francis Anglican (Traditional Episcopal) Church visit our website at stfrancisavamo.org.