"In this holy season, let it be our care and delight." Whenever I hear or say these words, I know that we are welcoming the Christmas season in our uniquely Anglican way. The seasonal Service of Lessons and Carols is one of those traditions that connects us with our spiritual ancestors and with communities of faith all over the world. A service that begins with these words promises a sweep through the Scriptures and a rich banquet of choral and congregational song. We Episcopalians know how to "do" Christmas!
I am eagerly anticipating our special Advent and Christmas liturgies in the month ahead: the Advent Procession, Lessons and Carols for Christmas, Carols for the City, and the Midnight Mass of the Nativity, culminating in the surprisingly simple service on Christmas Day (here is a link to the full schedule of services). Our staff, choirs, and many volunteers are already hard at work to create transcendent and transforming worship experiences for both long-time Cathedral members and first-time visitors. This is an ideal time to invite a friend or a neighbor to come to church with you, so that they may experience the extraordinary warmth and welcome of this congregation. As we say at Communion, "Come, not because the Church invites you: it is Christ, and he invites you to meet him here."
While our seasonal observance centers on worship of the Holy Child in the manger, Christ also calls us to pray and act on behalf of those who find it hard to celebrate Christmas, those who are homeless, or refugees, or estranged from their families; those who suffer chronic hunger, despair or fear. Let it be our care and delight, therefore, to work for God's justice and peace to prevail in our city and the world even while we sing the beloved and familiar songs of angels and shepherds. If you feel moved to make a special gift to support the work of the Cathedral, here is a link to our giving page. To donate Christmas flowers in thanksgiving or in memory of a loved one, click here (donations received by December 14 will be acknowledged in our Christmas service bulletins).
I look forward to welcoming you and your guests to our Advent and Christmas events. May you and those you love know the presence of Emmanuel, God with us, in your celebrations.
The Very Rev Penny Bridges, Dean