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The Seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany | The Feast of Saint Nicholas

The Season of Advent

The season of Advent is a special time when we not only prepare to celebrate Christ's birth, but also to look toward to His second coming in glory.  Advent celebrates the beginning and the end.  It marks the beginning of the church year, yet gives us a glimpse into the glorious future of God.  For it is only after we consider Jesus' second coming in glory that we are prepared to celebrate his first coming, helpless in a manger.

The Advent Wreath

Sometimes the words of the Christmas story become too familiar and predictable.  We've heard them all before, and rather than truly listen, our minds are filled with thoughts of the present--not the past.  We may feel removed from the real people and events of two thousand years ago. 

Each Sunday in Advent, the Advent Wreath will be lighted at the 10AM service by one of our Drama Ministry members, portraying a Biblical character who in some way is part of the Christmas story. 

Advent I - Hope, Isaiah
Advent II - Joy, Elizabeth
Advent III - Love, Mary
Advent IV - Peace, A Shepherd

Sundays in Advent

Advent 1 - December 3rd

  8AM Holy Eucharist - Rite I
  9AM Intercessory Prayer
  10AM Holy Eucharist - Rite II
    Advent Wreath - Isaiah
Children's Chapel
    Children's Christian Education
    St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, visits the children

Advent 2 - December 10th
  8AM Holy Eucharist - Rite I
  9AM Intercessory Prayer
  10AM Holy Eucharist - Rite II
    Advent Wreath - Elizabeth
     

Advent 3 - December 17th
  8AM Holy Eucharist - Rite I
  9AM Intercessory Prayer
  10AM Holy Eucharist - Rite II
    Advent Wreath - Mary
    Children's Christmas Pageant

Advent 4 - December 24th
  8AM Holy Eucharist - Rite I
  9AM Intercessory Prayer
  10AM Holy Eucharist - Rite II
    Advent Wreath - Shepherd
    Choir Christmas Cantata
  4PM Children's Christmas Service
  10:30PM Christmas Eve Worship

The Season of Christmas

A twelve-day celebration of an event that happened more than 2000 years ago - the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of that blessed event, we have been given meaning and purpose in this life; and the promise of eternal life in the next.  That is why we sing, "Joy to the World, the Lord is come...!"

Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 24th

  4PM Children's Christmas Worship
    Children participate as the story of the birth of Jesus is told using our parish creche.
Carol singing too.
  10:30PM Holy Eucharist - Rite II and Carol Singing

Other Seasonal Activities

The Angel Tree
Choose a name from the Angel Tree located in the parish hall.  Buy a gift for someone in need, wrap it, tag it, and we will see that it is delivered in time for Christmas morning. The children and youth will be trimming the Christmas tree Saturday, November 26th from 10AM to 12:00PM. Everyone is invited.  A Continental breakfast will be served.

Adult Christmas Caroling and Fellowship
Saturday, December 16th
Community Carol Singing in the neighborhood.  We meet at the church at 6:45PM.  Caroling begins at 7PM.  Cookies and cocoa will follow the singing.

"Children's Christmas Pageant"
Sunday, December 17th
Join us for a wonderfully joyful Christmas experience on Sunday, December 17th. St. Peter's Children and Youth Ministry will enhance our Christmas spirit by presenting a wonderful program in the church during the 10AM worship service.


Sunday , December 31st

  8AM Holy Eucharist - Rite I
  9AM Intercessory Prayer
  10AM Lessons and Carols
     
  10:30PM Cookies and Cocoa in the Parish Hall
  11PM New Year's Eve Worship - Holy Eucharist Rite II

The Season of Epiphany

Epiphany means "showing forth", and the Epiphany season begins with the revelation of Jesus to the Gentiles, specifically the magi (wise men) of Matthew's Gospel.  Epiphany proclaims Jesus as the Savior of the whole world and the Church as the new people of God, with God's salvation promises now applying to all the peoples of the earth.

Sunday, January 7th - Epiphany Sunday

  8AM Holy Eucharist Rite I
  10AM Holy Eucharist Rite II
    The Magi visit today and present their gifts to the Christ child
  Children/Youth Christian Education
  Children's Chapel

Religious Symbolism of "The 12 Days of Christmas"

1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

The Gifts of the Magi

Gold:
  The possession of royalty/Kingship.  Symbolic of Jesus as the King of Kings.

Frankincense:  Resin of the "arbor thuris" (the incense tree).  It was used by the priest in sacrifices.  The image is from Isaiah's description of God's Throne room--a smoke-filled room.  Symbolic of Jesus as the Great High Priest and of his being sacrificed for our sins.

Myrrh: 
Resin from leaves of the "cistus rose".  The oil is used to make perfumes and some cosmetics.  It could be mixed with wine to serve as a pain killer, but was most frequently used as a spice to anoint dead bodies for burial.  Symbolic of Jesus' anointing before his death.

The Magi: 
Probably from Persia, may or may not be kings; may have served in the king's court.

Considered scholars or "wise men", very knowledgeable about the sciences and astrology.

Believed that any abnormal action in the heavens (i.e. the appearance of a bright star) meant the birth of someone significant or some significant event has taken place.  This is why they followed with interest the star.  Brought their gifts because they assumed it would be a king.

Probably did not arrive at Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born.  It may have been as long as two years later.  They came to the "house" where the "child" was, as opposed to the shepherds who saw a "babe" in a "manger".

Visited King Herod before they found Jesus to inquire about his birth.  Herod told them to return to him when they found Jesus so that he, too, could worship him.  But the magi were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, but to leave by another way.  Herod's intent was to kill Jesus rather than worship him.

The magi were Gentiles (non-Jews).  They are significant because they are a reminder that Jesus was born (and died) for all people.  Epiphany means "showing forth" or "revealed".