Sunday, December 31

New Years Day

The celebration of the New Year did not occur on the first day of January after the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582—even then only in France, the northern Italian city states, Portugal, and in the Spanish nations of Castile and Aragon. The new calendar was not accepted until 1600 in Scotland and 1752 in England.

From the earliest days of the Roman imperial calendar the New Year was celebrated on March 25—which is why September, October, November, and December are derived from the Latin words septem (seven), octo (eight), novem (nine), and decem (ten).

Despite this, January 1 was still a special day. It was most often celebrated as a day of renewal—for vows, vision, and vocation. It was on this day that guild members took their annual pledge, that husbands and wives renewed their marriage promises, and that young believers reasserted their resolution to walk in the grace of the Lord’s great Epiphany.

When the new calendar was finally adopeted, these covenant renewals gained an even more celebratory significance. In Edinburgh beginning in the seventeenth century, revelers would gather at the Tron Church to watch the great clock tower mark their entrance into the new year—which was the inspiration behind the relatively recent Times Square ceremony in New York. But in Edinburgh, the purpose was not merely to have a grand excuse for a public party, but a way of celebrating the truth of Epiphany newness.

Thursday, December 28


Often called Childermas, this day on the Christian calendar has traditionally been celebrated as the Feast of the Holy Innocents. It is a day which solemnizes the slaughter of the children of Judea by Herod the Great following the birth of Christ. At Parish Pres, we will celebrate Childermas this coming Lord's Day.

This commoration has always been the focus of the faithful Church’s commitment to protect and preserve the sanctity of human life—thus serving as a prophetic warning against the practitioners of abandonment and infanticide in the age of antiquity, oblacy and pessiary in the medieval epoch, and abortion and euthanasia in these modern times. Generally set aside as a day of prayer, it culminates with a declaration of the covenant community’s unflinching commitment to the innocents who are unable to protect themselves.

Virtually every culture in antiquity was stained with the blood of innocent children. Unwanted infants in ancient Rome were abandoned outside the city walls to die from exposure to the elements or from the attacks of wild foraging beasts. Greeks often gave their pregnant women harsh doses of herbal or medicinal abortifacients. Persians developed highly sophisticated surgical curette procedures. Chinese women tied heavy ropes around their waists so excruciatingly tight that they either aborted or passed into unconsciousness. Ancient Hindus and Arabs concocted chemical pessaries--abortifacients that were pushed or pumped directly into the womb through the birth canal. Primitive Canaanites threw their children onto great flaming pyres as a sacrifice to their god Molech. Polynesians subjected their pregnant women to onerous tortures--their abdomens beaten with large stones or hot coals heaped upon their bodies. Egyptians disposed of their unwanted children by disemboweling and dismembering them shortly after birth--their collagen was then harvested for the manufacture of cosmetic creams.

Abortion, infanticide, exposure, and abandonment were so much a part of human societies that they provided the primary literary liet motif in popular traditions, stories, myths, fables, and legends. The founding of Rome was, for instance, presumed to be the happy result of the abandonment of children. According to the story, a vestal virgin who had been raped bore twin sons, Romulus and Remus. The harsh Etruscan Amulius ordered them exposed on the Tiber River. Left in a basket which floated ashore, they were found by a she wolf and suckled by her. Romulus and Remus would later establish the city of Rome on the seven hills near the place of their rescue. Likewise, the stories of Oedipus, Jupiter, Poseidon, and Hephaistos, were are victims of failed infanticides.

Because they had been mired by the minions of sin and death, it was as instinctive as the autumn harvest for them to summarily sabotage their own heritage. They saw nothing particularly cruel about despoiling the fruit of their wombs. It was woven into the very fabric of their culture. They believed that it was completely justifiable. They believed that it was just and good and right.

The Gospel therefore came into the world as a stern rebuke. God, who is the giver of life (Acts 17:25), the fountain of life (Psalm 36:9), and the defender of life (Psalm 27:1), not only sent us the message of life (Acts 5:20) and the words of life (John 6:68), He sent us the light of life as well (John 8:12). He sent us His only begotten Son—the life of the world (John 6:51)--to break the bonds of sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:54-56). For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Wednesday, December 27

Arkhangelsk Architecture

Arkhangelsk is a city in the far north of European Russia at the mouth of Dvina River where it empties into the White Sea. It was once the chief seaport of medieval Russia. Originally settled by Vikings in the 8th century, it was later the northern administrative capital of the 12th century Novgorod Republic. By the 15th century the area passed into the control of the rising Principality of Muscovy.

In the 16th century, Czar Ivan the Terrible made the city a major point of contact with English and Dutch traders. The region became a commercial hub--and as a result of that, a creative center--in this most unlikely clime. The city greatly prospered as a result. It was not surprising then that the Red Army built a major base and shipyard there in the early 20th century. Since the collapse of the Soviet Empire however, the town has suffered serious decline--with all of the deleterious economic consequences that you might expect.

Nevertheless, there is something rather extraordinary going on in Arkhangelsk today.

An out-of-work shipyard laborer has been transforming his humble wood-frame home into a handcrafted architectural wonder. Though every other home in the town is no more than a simple two-story domestic shed, the hodgepodge handiwork of N.I. Vnukovo stands more than 120 feet high. The complex, twelve-story, wooden tower has spires, porches, gables, and balconies all cobbled together into a labyrinthine scheme reminiscent of a Tolkien film set. And all of it is being built by Vnukovo, working alone with nothing but hand-tools and scavenged lumber and building supplies. What a marvel of creativity and ingenuity!

Tuesday, December 26

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Every day, from December 25 to January 6, has traditionally been a part of the Yuletide celebration. Dedicated to mercy and compassion--in light of the incarnation of Heaven’s own mercy and compassion--each of those twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany was to be noted by selfless giving and tender charity. In many cultures, gift giving is not concentrated on a single day, but rather, as in the famous folk song, spread out through the entire season.

In that delightful old folk song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, each of the gifts represent some aspect of the blessing of Christ’s appearing. They portray the abundant life, the riches of the Christian inheritance, and the ultimate promise of heaven. They also depict the essential covenantal nature of life lived in Christian community and accountability.

Playoff Scenarios

OK. So, it is not really complicated at all. In order to make it into the the playoffs, the Tennessee Titans simply need to:

1. Win their final game against the formidable New England Patriots--who have already clinched their division.

2. Then, the Cincinnati Bengals have to lose or tie.

3. Plus, the Denver Broncos have to lose.

4. Plus, the Kansas City Chiefs have to win.

Uh, yeah. Right. But look, unlikelier scenarios have already occured this year--like every single win the Titans have had since Vince Young became the starting quarterback and totally rescued the team. They began the year with 5 straight losses for heavens sake! No one believed they would be able to win even two games in the season--much less 6 in a row and 8 out of the last 10. So, why not go ahead and contemplate yet another absurdly improbable outcome?

Monday, December 25

Glad Tidings of Great Joy

Christians have celebrated the incarnation and nativity of the Lord Jesus on December 25 since at least the early part of the third century--just a few generations removed the days of the Apostles. By 336, when the Philocalian Calendar--one of the earliest documents of the Patriarchal church--was first utilized, Christmas Day was already a venerable and tenured tradition.

Though there is no historical evidence that Christ was actually born on this day--indeed, whatever scant evidence there is points to altogether different occasions--the conversion of the old Pagan tribes of Europe left a gaping void where the ancient winter cult festivals were once held. It was both culturally convenient and evangelically expedient to exchange the one for the other. That is how cultures are Biblically transformed--it will always be reformational (renewing, restoring, and regenerating) rather than revolutionary (destroying, denying, and denuding).

And so joy replaced desperation. Celebration replaced propitiation. Christmas Feasts replaced new Moon sacrifices. Christ replaced Baal, Molech, Apollo, and Thor. Glad tidings of great joy, indeed. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 23

December Newsletter

Just in time for Christmas, the new King's Meadow newsletter has arrived. There is a wonderful article by Susan Sadler on Advent--both the tradition and the traditions. There are two articles by her wise and witty daughter, Blair Sadler, on Christmas trees and on Epiphany. Then, Susan's sister (and thus, Blair's aunt), Sharon Haney reveals some yummy family traditions. Amy Shore offers up a favorite carol and its story. And finally, Greg Wilbur concocts a way to make the obligatory year-end appeal actually rather appealing. You don't want to miss any of it. So, if you're not already signed up to get the e-mail version of the newsletter, be sure to download the online version today. And do have a very merry Christmas and a joyeux noel.

Thursday, December 21

Down in Yon Forest

Some of the very best Christmas carols were originally written as Eucharistic hymns--usually intended for use during Christmas Eve communion services. That appears to be the case with the delightful Down in Yon Forest. Perhaps the most familiar version of this traditional six-stanza folk cycle was collected and arranged by the American balladeer, John Jacob Niles. But my favorite is that of the great English composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams:

Down in yon forest there stands a hall:
The bells of Paradise I heard them ring:
It's covered all over with purple and pall:
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything.

In that hall there stands a bed:
The bells of Paradise I heard them ring:
It's covered all over with scarlet so red:
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything.

At the bedside there lies a stone:
The bells of Paradise I heard them ring:
Which the sweet Virgin Mary knelt upon:
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything.

Under that bed there runs a flood:
The bells of Paradise I heard them ring:

The one half runs water, the other runs blood:
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything.

At the bed's foot there grows a thorn:
The bells of Paradise I heard them ring:
Which ever blows blossom since he was born:
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything.

Over that bed the moon shines bright:
The bells of Paradise I heard them ring:
Denoting our Savior was born this night:
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything.

Tuesday, December 19

Of the Father's Love Begotten

One of my favorite Christmas hymns is Of the Father's Love Begotten by the fifth century poet Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-413). It is a whole course in incarnational theology in just nine short stanzas:

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were framed; He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean in their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun, evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion, death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below, evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessed, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Righteous judge of souls departed, righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted none in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive, evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, thee let young men, thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens, with glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

Monday, December 18

Oh, the Wonder

"Infinite, and an infant. Eternal, and yet born of a woman. Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman’s breast. Supporting a universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother’s arms. King of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph. Heir of all things, and yet the carpenter’s despised son. Oh, the wonder of Christmas." Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Yuletide Traditions

"When I think of Christmas Eves, Christmas feasts, Christmas songs, and Christmas stories, I know that they do not represent a short and transient gladness. Instead, they speak of a joy unspeakable and full of glory. God love the world and sent His Son. Whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. That is Christmas joy. That is the Christmas spirit." Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983)

"There is something about saying, 'We always do this,' which helps keep the years together. Time is such an elusive thing that if we keep on meaning to do something interesting, but never do it, year would follow year with no special thoughtfulness being expressed in making gifts, surprises, charming table settings, and familiar, favorite food. Tradition is a good gift intended to guard the best gifts." Edith Schaeffer (1916-)

"All heaven and earth resound with that subtle and delicately balanced truth that the old paths are the best paths after all." J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Caroling and Wassailing

Singing traditional carols has long been a beloved aspect of the Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany season. Carols are hymns or songs that are usually narrative and celebratory in nature with a simple spirit and are often in verse form. The term “carol” has a varied and interesting past and is derived from several foreign words that include the ideas of dancing, feasting, and rejoicing as well as singing.

Biblical scholars have often asserted that the Angels sang the very first carol to the shepherds on the night of Christ's birth. But, Mary's song, the Magnificat, is also a sort of carol.

The idea of caroling through town from one home to another seems to have started sometime during the Reformation in Holland and Scotland. Carolers would visit each house of a parish on Christmas Night to sing songs of the Nativity and to call forth blessings on every home.

The term “wassail” literally means "Good health!" Carolers would go through town “wassailing” to bless their neighbors--who would then often reciprocate by giving them refreshments for the further spreading of good cheer.

Last night after our second service, the congregation of Parish Pres joined together for a brief time of strolling, fellowshipping, and caroling through downtown Franklin (on our way to a home just a couple of blocks from the chapel where we sang and ate way, way, way too many goodies). I hadn't done anything like that in years! We had so much fun. I felt like we were in Mitford. We are a blessed people, indeed.

Federal Vision Investigation

The Standing Judicial Committee of the Presbyterian Church in America is currently taking up the issue of the so-called "Federal Vision" theology and its proponants. Though no charges have as yet been brought against him, as a part of this process, Pastor Steve Wilkins of Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church was examined by his presbytery on December 9. An audio recording of the exam is now available on the church's web site. Having these transcripts should go a long way toward helping all of us sort through these very difficult, divisive issues.

How 'Bout Them Titans?

Vince Young leading in the fan's Rookie of the Year balloting? Jeff Fisher a top choice for Coach of the Year? The Titans actually with a chance (a wild, outside chance, admittedly) to make the playoffs with just two games to go in the regular season? Wins in 7 of the last 9 games after going 0-5 to start the year? Who'd a-thunk it?

Saturday, December 16

Boniface and the Little Pascha

Boniface of Crediton spent the first forty years of his life in quiet service to the church near his home in Exeter. He discipled young converts, cared for the sick, and administered relief for the poor. He was a competent scholar as well, expounding Bible doctrine for a small theological center and compiling the first Latin grammar written in England. But in 718, Boniface left the comfort and security of this life to become a missionary to the savage Teutonic tribes of Germany. For thirty years he not only proclaimed to them the Gospel of Light, he portrayed to them the Gospel of Life.

Stories of his courageous intervention on behalf of the innocent abound. He was constantly jeopardizing his own life for the sake of the young, the vulnerable, the weak, the helpless, the aged, the sick, and the poor—often imposing his body between the victims and their oppressors. Indeed, it was during one of his famed rescues that his name was forever linked to the celebration of Advent during Yuletide.

Wherever he went among the fierce Norsemen who had settled along the Danish and German coast, he was forced to face the awful specter of their brutal pagan practices—which included human mutilations and vestal sacrifices. When he arrived in the region of Hesse, Boniface decided to strike at the root of such superstitions. He publicly announced that he would destroy their gods. He then marched toward their great sacred grove. The awestruck crowd at Geismar followed along and then watched as he cut down the sacred Oak of Thor, an ancient object of pagan worship standing atop the summit of Mount Gudenberg near Fritzlar. The pagans, who had expected immediate judgment against such sacrilege, were forced to acknowledge that their gods were powerless to protect their own sanctuaries. Together, they professed faith in Christ.

A young boy from a neighboring village, hearing of such boldness, rushed into the missionary camp of Boniface three evenings later. It was just about twilight on the first Sunday in Advent. He breathlessly told of a sacrifice that was to be offered that very evening—his sister was to serve as the vestal virgin.

Hurrying through the snowy woods and across the rough terrain, Boniface and the boy arrived at the dense sacred grove just in time to see the Druid priest raise his knife into the darkened air. But as the blade plunged downward Boniface hurtled toward the horrid scene. He had nothing in his hands save a small wooden cross. Lunging forward, he reached the girl just in time to see the blade of the knife pierce the cross—thus, saving her life.

The priest toppled back. The huddle of worshipers were astonished. Their was a brief moment of complete silence. Boniface seized upon it. He proclaimed the Gospel to them then and there, declaring that the ultimate sacrifice had already been made by Christ on the cross at Golgotha—there was no need for others.

Captivated by the bizarre scene before them, the small crowd listened intently to his words. After explaining to them the once and for all provision of the Gospel, he turned toward the sacred grove. With the sacrificial knife in hand, he began hacking off low hanging branches. Passing them around the circle, he told each family to take to the small fir boughs home as a reminder of the completeness of Christ’s work on the tree of Calvary. They were to adorn their hearths with the tokens of His grace. They might even chop great logs from the grove as fuel for their home fires, he suggested—not so much to herald the destruction of their pagan ways but rather to memorialize the provision of Christ’s coming. Upon these things they were contemplate over the course of the next four weeks, until the great celebration of Christmas.

Such exploits inspired a number of Advent traditions. The Advent wreath—a fir garland set with five candles, one for each Sunday in Advent and one for Christmas Day—was quickly established as a means of reenacting the Gospel lesson of Boniface. In addition, the Christmas tree, decorated with candles and tinsel, strings of lights and garlands under the eaves and across the mantles, and the Yule log burning in the fireplace were favorite reminders of the season’s essential message.

In time, Boniface established a number of thriving parishes. He eventually became a mentor and support to the Carolingians, and he reformed the Frankish church, which Charles Martel had plundered. Ultimately, he discipled Pipin the Short, the father of Charlemagne the Great.

Then, when he was over 70, Boniface resigned his pastoral responsibilities, in order to spend his last years working among the fierce Frieslanders. With a small company, he successfully reached large numbers in the previously unevangelized area in the northeastern Germanies. On Whitsun Eve Boniface and Eoban were preparing for the baptism of some of the new converts at Dokkum, along the frontier of the Netherlands. Boniface had been quietly reading in his tent while awaiting the arrival of his new converts, when a hostile band of pagan warriors descended on the camp. He would not allow his companions to defend him. As he was exhorting them to trust in God and to welcome the prospect of dying for the faith, they were attacked—Boniface was one of the first to fall.

Though his voice was stilled that day, his testimony only grew louder, surer, and bolder. And thus, to this day, his message lives on—in the traditions of Advent.

Tuesday, December 12

A Modern Apocalypto

According to a disturbing new BBC Report, the grisly international trade in stem cells may have taken yet another nasty turn. It seems that Ukraine has built a thriving little industry as "the self-styled stem cell capital of the world." Amid undocumented claims the tissue can help fight many diseases, cells there may have been harvested not only from commercially aborted fetuses but now also from healthy, live-birth babies--who are brutally sacrificed in the process.

The horrors of this new flesh trade was uncovered when the BBC spoke to mothers from the city of Kharkiv who charged they "gave birth to healthy babies, only to have them taken by maternity staff." In scenes reminiscent of Mel Gibson's new film about the barbarous Mayan civilization, the report describes "a general culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth, and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate. Photos show organs, including brains, have been stripped--and some bodies dismembered."

It is a slippery slope indeed. Just as pro-life pioneers and prophets have always asserted.

Thursday, December 7

Pearl Harbor Address

On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the Japanese military conducted a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, resulting in the loss of more than two thousand American lives and the destruction of the bulk of the Pacific fleet. The next day, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed Congress and the nation in a broadcast heard worldwide. He branded December 7 “a date which will live in infamy.” The speech was a call for a declaration of war against Japan--as well as its Axis allies in Europe. Later that afternoon, Congress passed the resolution:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941--a date which will live in infamy--the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese government had deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the army and navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces—with the unbounded determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

Tuesday, December 5

Quite Peculiar

An e-mail from a friend today reminded me of the distinctly peculiar walk Christ calls us to in this poor fallen world. That in turn brought to mind several notable, quotable epigrams:

"It appears that the rumor is in fact true: the world is run by C students." Jean Renoir (1894-1979)

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Robert Frost (1874-1963)

"If you always go where you have always have gone and always do what you have always done, you will always be what you have always been." Tristan Gylberd (1954-)

"With visions of redemption, I walk against the crowd." Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863-1944)

"Never forget that every place is unique—just like every place else." (Tristan Gylberd (1954-)

Sunday, December 3

Parish Pres

Our first services were glorious. Thanks be to God.

Both services were full--indeed, the first was all but overflowing.

The refreshment of Word, sacrament, and covenant community was particularly rich.

We are a blessed people--beyond all measure.

In the Word

One of the distinctives of Parish Presbyterian Church is a commitment to verse-by-verse, expositional preaching. As Daniel Iverson always used to say, "In our church we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice." So, I will have the great privilege of opening the Word, week by week and in a systematic fashion, proclaiming the whole counsel of God.

During this month-long season of Advent we will be studying the Incarnation of Jesus as portrayed by the Gospel writers. This week we examine the beginning of Matthew’s account. Next week we will look at Mark’s narrative. Then, we will proceed in turn to Luke and John. After Christmas, we will stay in the Gospel of John—probably for the rest of the year. Here is the complete preaching schedule the elders have approved through the next couple of months:

December 3: First Sunday of Advent: Matthew 1:1-17
December 10: Second Sunday of Advent: Mark 1:1-11
December 17: Third Sunday of Advent: Luke 1:1-4
December 24: Fourth Sunday of Advent: John 1:1-3
December 31: Sanctity of Life Sunday (Holy Innocents): John 1:4-5
January 7: Epiphany Sunday: John 1:6-18
January 14: John 1:19-34
January 21: John 1:35-51
January 28: John 2:1-12
February 4: John 2:13-22
February 11: John 2:23-25
February 18: John 3:1-15
February 25: First Sunday of Lent: John 3:16-21

May God be pleased to pour forth abounding grace as we seek to hear and heed the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.