100 Years of Ministry in the Comox Valley
1915 - 2015
"We proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in our lives and in the loving service we offer our community."
Rector's Christmas Message 2015
By The Rev. Anthony Divinagracia
“To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:11
Dear Friends in Christ,
All the preparations; all the shopping and gift wrapping, the writing of cards, all the parties; seem to rush Christmas on us faster than we can imagine. After all, there are only 24 more days of shopping left. But the Church sometimes goes against the culture and asks us, to pause and prepare for the Lord’s coming, not in a rush, but with patience and joyful anticipation. Yes, this Advent season in our Church’s life is marked by the joyful anticipation as well as hopeful expectation.
There is so much to be hopeful for in our lives in Christ. We have hopeful expectation as we look forward to the annual celebration of the birth of the Christ child at Christmas. We recall the message of the Angel to the Shepherds, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the LORD. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).
We have much to rejoice at St. John’s as we continue to grow in our life of faith and witness together. We have experienced growth on many levels this year both in the depth and breadth of many of our ministries and programs, as well as a steady growth in numbers attending our various services and events throughout the week. We are becoming more and more active in our outreach to one another and to those around us in the wider community. With this in mind let me encourage you to make the most of our numerous events happening over the Advent and Christmas season and to invite family, friends and neighbours along with you. In this newsletter, you will find much information detailing Advent and Christmas happenings in our parish. Let me assure you, there is much to enjoy during this Advent - Christmas Season to help us get in the Spirit! Plan to come out and participate.
As we celebrate Advent and Christmas, we also take a moment to discern our thoughts. This season is a time to reflect upon the things we are thankful for—our friends, family, neighbors, and of course church community. Let us indeed give thanks for our parish and the outreach we have made to our community to the Glory of God.
The heart of Christmas is the nativity—a time to celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. This story is not just something that we read. Rather, we are invited to be a part of the Christian narrative as we offer love to one another. The same love which we have found with the birth of Christ.
Christmas is a time for relationships. Our connection with humanity and with God is important. What does the birth of Jesus mean for you? How has God worked in your life this year? These are questions, which we can ask together throughout the church year as a committed, welcoming community of Christians who strive to live out the Gospels.
As I write this year's Advent/Christmas message, I find myself thinking about the violence and war and terrorism going on in the world. I am reminded that for many Christians in the Middle East, this is a time of persecution and sometimes even death, not a time of joyous preparation for the coming of our Lord at Christmas. We live in a country we can be thankful for, for its’ relative peace and prosperity and freedom, and especially for the freedom to worship in peace.
And what better way to be thankful to God than to celebrate Christmas, to give thanks for God's Great Gift to us of Jesus. He came among us to make our lives, our communities, and our world, better, and we are called to walk the same path and become involved in the same kinds of healing and saving acts that characterized His life. There is much that we can do to answer God's call to make a difference in our communities and our world, and so I ask that if you are able, consider making a donation to the Good Samaritan fund during this holiday season when there is usually greater demand for help. We all are aware that things have become more expensive: rents, electricity, gas etc. I hope everyone who has the ability to donate food and/or funds will be generous as we strive to help those less fortunate than ourselves. During this season when we anticipate the celebration of the coming of our Lord, we are asked to be grateful and to be generous to those in need.
My family and I want to wish everyone a most Blessed Christmas. May the Christ Child find your heart, mind and soul ready to have a place for Him. May God bless each and every one of you in the New Year!
"As we gather we recognize that we live, work and play on the traditional lands of the First Nations Peoples. We also join in a line of Anglicans who have worshipped on these lands. As we continue we commit ourselves as a settler church and people to continue with our First Nations neighbours on the journey of truth and reconciliation."
Please also visit the website of our companion parish in the Comox Valley: Saint Peter's Anglican Church in Comox.
To visit other parishes in our Region and nearby, please click here.
St. John's Anglican Church
579 5th Street
Canada V9N 1K2
WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE ANGLICAN CHURCH IN COURTENAY