First day of the Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ
Sunday before the Nativity of Christ (The Genealogy)
New-martyr John the Tailor of Thasos; Daniel II, Archbishop of Serbia
Nourishment of the Soul:…”Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end.”
Saying goodbye to Father Seraphim and to Khouria Paraskeva
We cannot overstate our heartfelt gratitude for all that Father Seraphim and Khouria Paraskeva have added to our Parish life during their time in Bloomington. Their absence will leave a gaping, Moslener-shaped hole in our hearts, and they know very well we welcome them back as often as the Lord allows. Father and Khouria remain in our prayers, and we know they keep us in theirs!
May God grant them many years!
Love, Father Peter Jon, Khouria Kristina & Family
Gillquist Family Update: The family continues a very straightforward recovery from COVID-19. Thanks to all who have dropped off food or offered prayers and well-wishes. Father’s quarantine will end this coming Wednesday, and he looks forward to serving The Hours of Christmas on Thursday and Christmas Matins/Liturgy on Friday morning. He has trimmed the normal service schedule due to post-Covid fatigue which can linger. He will share his schedule for January after quarantine.
A Program to View: Dr. Debbie Craton, interviewed Fr. Seraphim recently for her local television program where they discussed adult depression during the Covid pandemic. The episode can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/491177911. The program has a fairly wide following locally in Bedford, but the online program actually can be viewed from anywhere. Dr. John wanted to share with our parishioners about Fr. Seraphim’s contribution to the program and about Debbie’s deep appreciation of our dear priest’s participation.
Please note the changes to the week’s services, previously publicized.
Wednesday, December 23: Live-Streamed Reader Vespers at 6:00; no teaching will follow.
Christmas Eve Morning, December 24: Royal Hours at 9:00; there will be no Vesperal Liturgy
Christmas Day, December 25: Festal Matins of Christmas at 9:00 am; Festal Divine Liturgy follows.
Saturday, December 26: Live-Streamed Great Vespers at 5:00: SOYO at 6:00 – 8:00
Sunday, December 27: Live-Streamed Matins at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00
Teen SOYO Project: As you know, our teens are collecting much-needed items for young children served by the Women’s Care Center and Hannah House during this blessed Advent season. We remember our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Who was born in a cave, because there was no room for Him at the Inn. Due to the importance of this work, I am extending the “Baby Drive“ until the Great Feast of Theophany on January 6, 2021.
Items needed are as follows.
Diapers, sizes newborn, 1, 5 & 6
Boys pull-ups, size 5 & 6
Girls pull-ups, size 5 & 6
Please place your donated items on the table in the fellowship hall designated for that purpose.
Thank you in advance for your generosity, and God bless you. – Fr. Peter Jon
Perhaps you are wondering! ….Lifetouch Church Directories is now operational after being closed during the pandemic, abd we now expect to receive the pictorial directories by the end of January.
Annual Gift Card Drive: Please, place gift cards (or cash in an envelope) on the small tree at the back of the nave. They will be distributed to families who need a special gift of love at this time of the year. (Cards and cash do not remain on the tree after Liturgy, but are put in a secure space.)
Anniversary Celebration: Glen & Wendy C (17th);Phil & Deborah C (23rd); Robert & Nina R (26th)
Happy Birthday: Laura C (20th); Griffin F (21st); Alexandra S (22nd); Nicholas S (22nd); Jonathan H (22nd); Amanda A (26th)
Name Day Blessings: Juliana B (St. Juliana of Nicomedia – 21st); Chris S(Christmas Day)
EPISTLE and GOSPEL READINGS
The Reading is from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. (11:9-10, 32-40)
(For the Sunday before the Nativity)
Blessed are Thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers.
For Thou art justified in all that Thou hast done for us.
Brethren, by faith Abraham sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, and put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (1:1-25)
(For the Sunday before the Nativity: “The Genealogy”)
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, Who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ were fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called His Name Jesus.
Divine Liturgy Variables for Choir and Parish
Apolytikion of the Forefeast of the Nativity – Tone 4
Be thou ready, Bethlehem, Eden hath opened unto all. * Ephratha, prepare thyself, for now, behold, the Tree of Life * hath blossomed forth in the cave from the holy Virgin. * Her womb hath proved a true spiritual Paradise, * wherein the divine and saving Tree is found, * and as we eat thereof we shall all live, * and shall not die as did Adam. * For Christ is born now to raise the image that had fallen aforetime.
Apolytikion of the Sunday before the Nativity – Tone
Great are the accomplishments of faith; for the three holy youths rejoiced in the fountain of flames as though at waters of rest. And the Prophet Daniel appeared a shepherd to the lions as though they were sheep. Wherefore, by their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls.
Kontakion of the Preparation of Christ’s Nativity – Tone 3
The Virgin cometh today to the cave to give birth, ineffably to bring forth the Word Eternal. Therefore, rejoice, O earth, at the message, with the angels and shepherds give glory to Him Who shall appear by His own will as a young child, He Who is from eternity God.
Prayer List:Fr. Peter Jon; Fr. Athanasius; Fr. Gabriel; Immimk family with Covid;Heidi; Fr. Jerome; our nation and our nation’s leaders at all levels of government; world-wide pandemic; nursing home residents and caregivers; schools, school children, youth and personnel across the nation. The People of Beirut; Bonnie Thelen (awaiting kidney transplant);
Donations to the church are being made online at www.allsaintsbloomington.org and by U.S. mail. Thank you for continuing to support the church.
Coffee Hour Procedures: Safety directives are being followed. Rhonda, serving as chair of the Myrrh Bearers, is the point person. Please contact her to volunteer donations.