December 27, 2023

Dear friends at Epiphany,

Merry Christmas!

One of the things I love about our corner of Christendom is that December 25 marks the beginning, not the end, of the Christmas season. We will be continuing to celebrate Jesus' birth this coming Sunday with a service of Nine Lessons and Carols. This musical service at 10:15am gives us the chance to sing the songs of Christmas together and hear the mystery of Immanuel unfold through readings from the Bible. It is a good service to invite a friend to attend with you. There will also be our normal 8am service on Dec. 31.

This past Sunday, we celebrated Christ's birth together with great joy. Sermons from those services are here (Advent IV Sunday Morning), here (5pm Family Service) and here (9pm Traditional Service).

We are so grateful for your giving to Epiphany. It is not too late to make a final gift during 2023. You can use the Church Center Directory app (or PayPal) between now and Dec. 31. You can also mail gifts to the church so long as it is postmarked by Dec. 31. On that note, you can also still designate gifts to this year's Epiphany Gift to the Rev. Robbie Pruitt's bike ministry. So far, you have given more than $3,600 of the $5,000 we plan to give as a congregation.

Finally, I began the Advent season by sharing a poem, let's begin Christmas the same way. Here is a favorite of mine from G.K. Chesterton. It's a bit on the long side, but worth it!

The Wise Men

Step softly, under snow or rain,

  To find the place where men can pray;

The way is all so very plain

  That we may lose the way.

Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore,

  On tortured puzzles from our youth,

We know all labyrinthine lore,

We are the three Wise Men of yore,

  And we know all things but the truth.

We have gone round and round the hill,

  And lost the wood among the trees,

And learnt long names for every ill,

And served the mad gods, naming still

  The Furies the Eumenides.

The gods of violence took the veil

  Of vision and philosophy,

The Serpent that brought all men bale,

He bites his own accursed tail,

  And calls himself Eternity.

Go humbly . . . it has hailed and snowed . . .

  With voices low and lanterns lit;

So very simple is the road,

  That we may stray from it.

The world grows terrible and white,

  And blinding white the breaking day;

We walk bewildered in the light,

For something is too large for sight,

  And something much too plain to say.

The Child that was ere worlds begun ─

(. . . We need but walk a little way . . .

We need but see a latch undone . . .)

The Child that played with moon and sun

  Is playing with a little hay.

The house from which the heavens are fed,

  The old strange house that is our own,

Where tricks of words are never said,

And Mercy is as plain as bread,

  And Honour is as hard as stone.

Go humbly; humble are the skies,

  And low and large and fierce the Star,

So very near the Manger lies

That we may travel far.

Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes

  To roar to the resounding plain,

And the whole heaven shouts and shakes

  For God Himself is born again

And we are little children walking

  Through the snow and rain.

~G.K. Chesterton (1913)

God bless,

The Rev. Peter Frank, rector
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Church of the Epiphany
3863 Centerview Drive
Chantilly, VA 20151