Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we truly approach the Feast of the Nativity we can see ourselves beginning to be more and more caught up in it. A lot is happening around us, as the celebrations of the world at large build to their climax. But us...we haven't even started yet. For us, the hours of silence await us. The quietude of Christmas Eve reminds us of the stillness that accompanied the birth of our Savior. To be sure, there would be tumult in abundance in the days and years to come, but on that night the entire world, it seems to be holding its breath. For me, I sense that silence acutely. As it was last year, I look forward to walking home after the Vigil service, in the stillness of the night of anticipation.

1. So, clearly, there is a lot going on this week! On Saturday evening, at 5:00 p.m., we will serve Great Vespers, followed on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. by Divine Liturgy for the Sunday ion the Ancestors of Christ. Have you ever thought about exactly how long 42 generations its?

On Monday morning, December 24, we will serve Royal Hours at 10:00 a.m., and that evening at 7:00 p.m. we will celebrate the Vigil of the Nativity. Then, on Christmas morning we will celebrate Divine Liturgy for this wonderful feast at 9:00 a.m. Please come. It is called Christ-mass for a reason, you know!

I am also very happy to say that Fr. John Zboyovski and Pani Cindy will be joining us for Christmas Eve Vigil and then Liturgy on Christmas morning. Fr. John its my mentor, teacher and confessor (the last being the most burdensome task!), and I look forward to having them here with us.

2. Here is something very interesting. Our own Johannah Ries is not simply resting while Dale recovers from his illness. She has started work on a very extensive website about Orthodoxy for Native Americans in general, and Cherokee in particular. It is a wonderful thing too see it come together. You can see it at

https://sites.google.com/site/cherokeeorthodox/

3. Finally, our calendars for next year have arrived. You will find them in the foyer of the Church.

I hope to see you all often over the coming few days!

In Christ,

Fr. James