Picture credit: Arden Gilbert, daughter of Paul
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC years ago decided to place this commemorative tree in the vestibule of the cathedral to remind everyone that peace is all our responsibility. The Origami cranes are used as decoration based on a Japanese story that folding 1000 cranes would help bring peace to the world. A young girl used this story as her motivation to fold the cranes. She was suffering from radiation sickness after the atomic bombing of Japan ending WW II. People around the world heard the story and shared folding cranes with her. Unfortunately she did not survive her illness but the motive to make peace among all peoples is stronger than ever.
Come to the Episcopal Church on the Island for two meaningful services celebrating the Nativity of Jesus. Since we are a family sized worshipping community, it feels a little like we're all linked by our love of the Island and the traditional offerings of the Christmas season. We'd like you to be part of our family.
On Christmas Eve, December 24, our service will take the format of a Candle and Carol service (no Eucharist). It's designed to gather us all together and sing the familiar carols and hear the Christmas narrative once again. You'll have to supply the imaginary snow and mountain vistas if you want. We'll be warm on the inside as we sit side by side and experience the glow of the candles while we sing "Silent Night.."
We especially invite younger participants. The service will be very family friendly. Come at 4:45 pm to warm up with some carols and then the service begins at 5:00 pm. Who knows, maybe Santa will have dropped off candy canes for good little girls and boys (adults too!).
On Sunday our worship begins at 10:00 am. The Celebration of the Nativity is the focus with the Holy Eucharist offered for all. Our music will be provided by our guitar group, The Echoes. Much of the Christmas music plays very well on stringed instruments. Our service is cheerful and a celebration of the gift of Jesus as the icon and Son of God.
A Favorite Christmas Hymn:
Not all Christmas hymns are carols. That musical form came from a French musical style developed for dancing. We have to delay singing these Christmas themed carols and hymns because the lyrics don’t match the Advent themes. Instead of watching and waiting at Christmas tide, we’re proclaiming and celebrating.
One of my favorite Christmas hymns is Rossetti’s “In the bleak mid-winter.” (Hymn 112) Gustav Theodore Holst, who is best known for his masterwork The Planets, put the poetry to music.
Rossetti presents us with a children’s hymn with a description of winter that is bone chilling. The search for the proper present to give Jesus is resolved with a gift everyone can give-the heart.
Christianity is at its core a conversion of the heart. That conversion leads us away from self-satisfaction to serving others and is a means of experiencing God at work in the human family.
Recently I noticed a note placed in a full-page advertisement by a paper products manufacturer in the Wall Street Journal. A victim of human trafficking wrote it.
I always thought no person on this planet would ever love me andthat I was worthless in the eyes of everyone around me. But when I started to love myself, flaws and all, I was able to recognize the love and compassion in others. Peace, Asia Graves
The journey to self acceptance and forgiveness is God’s ultimate call to all of us. Imagine if all those in decision making positions world wide found their own heart and gave it as a gift at the cradle of Jesus, the newborn. Try reading this hymn as a prayer and imagine all those you love, as gift givers. The simplest gift of all is the most expensive too.
Rev. Paul Gilbert