Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church

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Clergy Corner

Christmastide

  • The Rev. Dr. Bill Murray
  • Dec 20, 2018
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Thanks to the titular song, even the most secular of folks know that there are twelve days in the actual season of Christmas. The harder part is to celebrate those days instead of just focusing on the 25th exclusively. The church has ways to do that if we listen to the calendar.

I have listed the feast days we honor during this season and invited prayer for each. The key to prayer is that it should and often must stir us to action. So pray during these twelve days and be open to God’s call in your heart and life to do more in one area or another.

Christmas blessings to all

December 25th – Feast of the Nativity. The Church chooses to recognize this day as the moment God enters the world in human flesh. It does not make things perfect or correct all sin. For all those moments of brokenness and loss, God is powerfully present. God knows what it is to be human.

Give thanks that God is with us.

December 26th – Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the church. Many Christians are still persecuted for their faith.

Give thanks for the blessing of being able to worship in peace with those you love.

December 27th – Feast of St. John the Evangelist, author of the gospel. Give thanks that four witnesses to Christ’s ministry chose to share the story of God’s work in this world.

Share your story of how you became a Christian, how you landed at Holy Innocents.

December 28th – Feast of the Holy Innocents, our Patronal Feast. We will celebrate together on January 27 but today is a day to remember that even the smallest of children can be persecuted.

Pray for the Holy Innocents of our Day and for all victims of violence.

December 29th – Feast of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was killed by his onetime friend, King Henry II. He died because he refused to let the church be a pawn of the crown. His last words, “Willingly I die for the name of Jesus and in the defense of the Church.”

Pray for politicians to make wise choices and to engage their faith.

December 30th – Feast of Frances Gaudet, an African-American woman in Louisiana who fought for prison reform and founded schools to educate poor black families.

Pray for Atlanta, a city still struggling with the sin of racism.

December 31st – Feast of Samuel Crowther, first African Anglican Bishop in Nigeria. While we might celebrate his rescue from slavery and conversion, Crowther was first and foremost a linguist. His lasting contribution to his people was the first translation of scripture into the local language.

Pray that we might all hear God’s word in way that touches our hearts. 

January 1st – Feast of the Holy Name. This feast day was known previously as Feast of the Circumcision. According to Jewish tradition, on the 8th day after birth, a male child is circumcised and given his name.

Pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters and recall that Jesus lived as a Jew in this world.

January 2nd – Feast of Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church. One of the greatest theologians in history, Gregory is known for his passionate defense of the Trinity which converted thousands to the faith.

God’s nature is to be in relationship. Pray for healthy, loving human relationships.

 January 3rd – Feast of Angela of Feligno. Sometimes the only way to see God is through a glass dimly as Paul says. Some are blessed to have visions that reveal a portion of God’s nature. Angela was a mystic who viewed the divine.

Pray that we might see a new side of God in our lives.             

January 4th – Feast of Elizabeth Seton, the first Catholic female American saint was a born and raised Episcopalian. She founded orphanages and cared passionately for the poor.

Pray for the orphaned and the poor.

January 5th – Feast of Sarah, Theodora, and Syncletica of Egypt, the Desert Mothers. Three women from the 4th century known for their wisdom in prayer and their spiritual direction of others.

We do not walk in faith alone. Pray for wise companions on the way.