Vestry Nominations

The Nominating Committee of the Vestry has nominated Tish Goodman, Ben Hargett, Allison Harris, and Mary Gregory Porter for election to three year terms at our Annual Parish Meeting on Sunday, January 20. In accordance with our by-laws, nominations for vestry by petition may be made to the rector until Sunday, January 6, provided that the petition be signed by four confirmed communicants of Nativity who are not currently members of the Vestry.

In addition, the Nominating Committee has also nominated Dean Kidd for election to a two-year term as Junior Warden, and Peter has nominated Perry Whites for election to a two-year term as Senior Warden. Thank you to all those who are willing to stand for election and serve in these roles!

December Youth Group Update

December is here, and for EYC this means that it is time for the Nativity Christmas Pageant. There is excitement in the air as we have already been planning and rehearsing. For some, this will be their last time to be a part of the Christmas Pageant, and for others this will be their first. But for all, it will be fun and joyful.

One of the great things about the Christmas Pageant is that EYC members can reflect on who they are and who God has called them to be by acting out the story of the Nativity. By acting out this story, our EYC brings parts of themselves to this story of our Lord. More importantly, this Nativity pageant immerses them in the story by pulling them directly into it as they act it out.

Please help us by making sure that the EYC is here the next two Sunday nights so we can practice. And, please pray for the EYC and all of those who are involved in the Christmas Pageant as we work on this joyous event.

December Choir Corner by David Williamson

As we approach the two shortest seasons of the Liturgical Year, I’m reminded of the old saying that Good Friday belongs to the Roman Catholics, Easter belongs to the Eastern Orthodox Christians, but Advent, Christmas, and all the Holy Days dealing with the Incarnation are the domain of us Anglicans. We are militant in refusing to celebrate Christmas without thoroughly preparing ourselves though Advent. Our hymnody embraces and reinforces the dual preparation for both the celebration of the first coming of Jesus and the proclamation of his return in glory. Among the Advent favorites in our hymnal are “Hark, a thrilling voice is sounding,” “On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry,” “Prepare the way, O Zion,” ”Sleepers Wake,” “Lo! He comes with clouds descending,” and “O come, O come, Emmanuel.”

The Gloria in Excelsis (the song at the beginning of worship that begins, “Glory to God in the Highest...”) is given up for Advent but will return in our worship on Christmas Eve in the metrical form of “Angels we have heard on high.” This is appropriate since the first lines
of the Gloria in Excelsis comes directly from the angels’ mouths as they announce the birth of Jesus to the shepheards.

During Advent, we will once again sing the Schubert’s Kyrie (“Lord, have mercy upon us...”) and Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy Lord...”) along with Mark Schweitzer’s “St. James’ Christmas Service” setting of the Agnus Dei (“O, Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world...”) to the tune “Greensleeves.” Greensleeves is the tune most are familiar with as the setting of “What Child is This?”

Filling Potholes and Moving Mountains

In preparation for Sabbatical, I recently acquired a book of daily prayers inspired by our Celtic Christian ancestors.  The book contains the spiritual disciplines of the Northumbrian Community, a group of contemporary Christians in Northern England and beyond, who, though scattered, commit to shared habits of prayer and hospitality.  Periodically, they reconvene near Lindisfarne, a tiny island that has housed Christian communities since the 7th century when the Irish monk Aidan traveled from Iona and opened a monastery.

Traveling together toward family during the Thanksgiving holidays, Giulianna read aloud to me the reflections of our Northumbrian brothers and sisters on Advent, that period of preparation the Church enters into as we await the birth of Jesus at Christmas.  Our preparations for Christmas can be so easily consumed by event-planning, we typically forget the necessities of spiritual preparation.  As you prepare to welcome the Christ-child, I commend to you the words of the Northumbria community: 

It is said that the door to the stable where the Christ-child has been born is very low – and only those who kneel find access.  Being ready for Christmas should mean that our thoughts are focused not just on letters, cards, and presents, but on repentance, humbling, and interior “housecleaning.”  John the Baptist warned his hearers to prepare a way for the Lord – to make a clear and level pathway.  This involves removing any boulders that stand in the way, and filling in any potholes.  The boulders are those things we have done that we should not have done; the potholes are the things we have failed to do which we obviously should have done.  The more as individuals, family, or congregation, we are focused in this way, the less we will be overwhelmed by the commercialization of Christmas.

I intend to take these words to heart this Advent, removing the boulders of mistakes I have made, and filling in the potholes of good works left undone.  Let’s do this work together, so that together, we will be ready to greet the arrival of our Savior.


Jeffrey Lee Cole

Jeffrey Lee Cole, formerly of Greenwood, died peacefully at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. He was 89 years old. He was visited frequently by friends and family until he finally slipped away after a brief fight with cancer. He professed his firm belief in his savior Jesus Christ and is now with his Lord in paradise.