From Our Pastor: 4th Sunday of Advent & Merry Christmas!
This weekend we have the gift of celebrating both the fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas! With this we only have one bulletin for both. So, Blessed Fourth Sunday of Advent to you AND Merry Christmas! What a crazy moment. We barely light the fourth candle of the Advent Wreath and blow them all out before turning around to celebrate Christmas Eve and the Birth of Jesus Christ into our world.
The readings this weekend tell us of an everlasting kingdom in the lineage of David and the promise fulfilled of that Kingdom in the answer of Mary to the Archangel Gabriel. This is a reminder of the fact that God keeps His promises and loves us enough to humble Himself to come and save us. In our Christmas readings they point us to that lineage of Jesus fulfilling the line of David and the connection to Abraham. They tell us of the story of the birth of Christ, and the response of the shepherds hearing the announcement of the birth. Humble shepherds were the first to see and testify and witness to the Birth of Jesus, not the people you would think would be the witnesses you would desire. God operates very differently than us. This is a different king and kingdom than we are used to. Then we hear about how Christ always was, always is, and always will be, but took on our flesh to save us. What a whirlwind of intense stories and theology and love. The message, our God loves us so much that He came in the form of a little child to bring us His everlasting presence to save us. How beautiful.
I cannot thank the Lord enough for the privilege to pastor this amazing parish. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. I finally feel like I am getting to know you all more and more. Continue to introduce yourselves, especially if we haven’t gotten to speak. Continue to tell me your stories and lives, as I long to hear them and know them.
Thank you for your faith, your immense stewardship, and your love. Our parish is amazing, alive, and on fire with the Holy Spirit. We continue to grow as we reach out and welcome and invite. We continue to expand as we teach and love and guide. Let’s make this parish witness as the humble shepherds to the joy of Christmas now, and always.
Continue to tell others of the good things here at St. Francis and continue to invite them to come and see. Come see the little baby Jesus and come to hear the good news of how He loves them so much. May each and every one of you have a joyful Christmas season. Remember it is JUST beginning today and doesn’t end at least until the baptism of the Lord January, 8, if not the presentation of the Lord on February, 2. May we continue to say Merry Christmas, leave our decorations up, sing Christmas Carols and songs, have Christmas parties, eat more cookies and feast with our families and friends! If you are traveling anytime for this Holy Day, may you be kept safe and return home to us soon.
From myself, Fr. Steven Arisman and Fr. Rafal Pyrchla, know of our love and gratitude for each and every one of you!
- Rev. Steven Arisman