Don't miss our parish Christmas party on Jan. 3, and the Epiphany Pageant on Jan. 4.

One of the things that I love about the Church is that we operate on a unique calendar. For some, that can be a bit frustrating. I know many parishioners who have complained about our calendar while in the midst of Advent. While the rest of the world has converted radio stations to Christmas stations and Christmas products have been out since October, the Church holds back on Christmas. We do not sing a single Christmas carol until Christmas Eve. Instead, we have an entire section of hymns reserved strictly for Advent. While the world is abuzz with Christmas shopping and noisy preparations, the Church invites us into quiet preparation – a season of contemplating the coming of the Christ Child and what that event means for salvation. My guess is that if you stepped off “city sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed with holiday style …” and into churches, you might wonder whether the Church was confused. 

But the good news about the differences in our calendars is that while the rest of the world is done with Christmas after December 25th, the Church calendar has us celebrate Christmas for 12 days. We get to continue singing those favorite hymns. We get to celebrate with Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and angels while we wait for those three wise men. And at St. Margaret‟s we get to enjoy our parish Christmas party after the hubbub of all those other parties. Though this is the first time we have held the annual Christmas party after Christmas (on January 3), and although the timing was a bit of an accident, I think the timing is perfect. It allows us to get past the secular Christmas rush and enjoy Christmas on the Church's calendar. I hope you will take this opportunity to relish all the ways that Church celebrates Christmas differently and spend time with your fellow parishioners. Feel free to bring a friend to show them how wonderfully

Of course, the other wonderful thing about the difference in our calendar is actually welcoming those three kings in January. Though most of us put out our kings in our crèches in December, many people have the tradition of letting their wise men journey around their homes until they find their way to Jesus on Epiphany. At St. Margaret's we mark that dramatic arrival with our Epiphany pageant. I have always appreciated how we save this pageant until after the 25th. I know many other parishes who rush to squeeze the pageant in before Christmas, interrupting the flow of Advent and driving parents crazy with one more Christmas obligation. But having an Epiphany pageant is one way that we mark the different nature of the Church's calendar, giving the feast of the Epiphany the proper attention it deserves. I hope that you will join us on January 4th as our children invite us to keep the feast of Epiphany. If you know a young family who is looking for a church home, or simply have friends whose children might enjoy joining in the festivities, bring them on the 4th. We will find a place for them!

I look forward to the sacred way the Church invites us to celebrate Christmas, and I hope you will join us in marking time differently. In the cold months that await us, consider inviting a friend to enjoy a warm morning of worship, fellowship, and learning. Maybe they are looking for something a little different, too.

Christ's Peace,

 ~ The Rev. Jennifer Andrews-Weckerly