On January 2, on the Sunday before the Nativity, we had a nice celebration at St. George Church. Due to the Prefeast of the Nativity the temple was already decorated for Christmas and the covers of the icon stands, as well as the altar and serving vestments were changed to white. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov, served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. The service was attended by Abbot Eutychius (Dovganyuk) who was praying in the sanctuary. After the Gospel lesson Fr. Igor preached the following homily:
“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Last Sunday the Church commemorated all the righteous of the Old Testament who awaited the coming of Christ. Today, on Sunday before the Birth of Christ on earth, the Church remembers all those in the Old Testament who were related to Christ by blood and those who spoke of His Birth as a Man. That is why today we have read Christ’s family tree from the Gospel of St. Matthew”.
“In this way the Church shows us that Christ was a historical figure, not a mythical or a legendary person. He really lived on Earth and was part of the human history. And in a more profound and spiritual way, today’s celebration and today’s reading from the Gospel teaches us that Jesus Christ really became a man. Тhe Son of God really took on human nature. He was not a ghost, an apparition, or a myth. He was not some “god of philosophers”. Such a god does not have a family tree. Jesus Christ is the son of Abraham. And He is God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has flesh and blood, human ancestors. By taking on human nature, the Son of God became like us in all ways, in flesh and blood, in tears and sweat, in mind and soul, in heart and will. As a human, He was different from us in only one way – He did not sin. All His human ancestors did sin. For instance, king David. David is remembered for committing two grave sins – murder and adultery. But David is also remembered by his sincere repentance. Since we know that human nature of Christ remained sinless, He shows us the way that we can strive to avoid sin and thus to improve our failing human nature”.
“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters! The fact that Christ took on human nature and has a family tree, has another meaning too. Christ is descended from Adam through Abraham and David, through His ancestors Joachim and Anna. Therefore, in His human nature He is related to us and we are related to Him. He is a relative of our ancestors, of our forebearers, Adam and Eve. He is one of our own. He is our relative and we are His relatives, we belong to the same, as we would say, “extanded” family. We should understand that with Christ we belong to one household, a family of Saints and a family of sinners, but a household of which He is the Head and we are His children, the children whose Mother is the Church and the Father is God. And in Him we believe in the Fatherhood of God and in the Brotherhood of Man”.
“And our Lord Jesus Christ who became Man, came to save this human brotherhood, so through Him we may become true children of God, not only by the fact of our creation by God, but by divine grace and our faith which make us saved in God”.
“And therefore, dear brothers and sisters, dear Father, preparing for the solemnity of the Birth of our Lord in flesh, let us become aware of our human brotherhood, as well as of our sonship to God, and let us implore our holy Ancestors: “Holy Fathers of Christ, pray to God for us!”
During the Litany of Fervent Supplication Fr. Igor proclaimed a petition beseeching the Lord to spear the faithful from the outbreak of the disease.
During preparation for Holy Communion the choir performed the hymns from the Nativity Canon.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector greeted everyone on the occasion of the civil New Year and made the announcements regarding the coming Nativity celebration. He proposed the parishioners to get the new wall calendars for the year 2022 in exchange for a donation. Fr. Igor also thanked our sisterhood for decorating the church before the holy days. Then Fr. Igor greeted Moses Dunetz and Phoebe Ching Huei-Li on the occasion of their birthdays celebrated these days proclaiming the traditional Polychronion on their behalf.