Happy almost Winter Solstice! And happy almost Feast of St Thomas, the Apostle.

Poor Thomas often gets overlooked, having his feast day so close to Christmas Day. Yet the witness of Thomas,and his exclamation, “My Lord and my God,” on seeingthe wounds of the risen Christ, stand for us as a guide and a challenge for living our own

lives, especially in uncertain times. Please take a moment to remember Thomas, all who take

Thomas as their patron, and what Thomas has meant to our own St Thomas Church over many, many years.

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Let us pray:

Everliving God, who strengthened your apostle Thomas
with firm and certain faith in your Son’s resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in your sight; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Tomorrow we will gather at 6:30 to create the ivy garland and other greens that adorn the church for Christmas. All are welcome to come and help, and enjoy good fellowship, soup and dessert.

On Sunday, following the 10:00am service we will hang greens, place flowers and holly in the deep window sills, and prepare the physical space for the coming of Christ and our Christmas celebration at St Thomas. All are welcome – something for everyone to do. We are particularly in need of some who can climb high ladders.

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See below for the schedule of services over these next few weeks, along with a message from our Presiding Bishop Curry, and our own Bishop Stokes.

And, finally, tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the flight of Apollo 8.

Below is a piece prepared by my friend and colleague, the Rev. Victoria Geer McGrath, rector of All Saints Church in Millington. I remember watching the Apollo mission in 1968, in awe of what was said, and of what we humans were seeing then for the very first time: our own planet, as it appears from the moon. I hope you will watch the video of the documentary from the National Cathedral, and if you visit that place, look for the space window! Also, I hope you will google‘Earthrise” and be amazed anew.

“This Christmas is the 50th anniversary of the flight and first moon orbit of Apollo 8, launched on December 21, 1968, orbiting on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Duringthat orbit astronaut Jim Lovell read aloud the first ten verses of Genesis 1: “in the beginning God….”, and it was broadcast to earth and heard throughout the world. It wasalso during this flight that the iconic “Earthrise” photo was taken – the first glimpse humans ever had of our own planet.

To celebrate the milestone of this great achievement for our country and for our world, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum held an event last night at WashingtonNational Cathedral called “The Spirit of Apollo” – A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 8 Mission to the Moon. Capt. Lovell spoke, as did Ellen Stofan, director of the Air and Space Museum, Jim Bridentstine, NASA Administrator, the British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. There were clips of film footage from the mission, a light show in the darkened Cathedral, and live choral music. The event was live-streamed and the eighty-minute video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAM0iJxyCf4&fbclid=IwAR1QTga1eZV1UzG8T4 F89zoSLgLZes3vG64jNqd3yBt6KE4CXu  I encourage you to watch the video, and remember anew the beauty of God’s creation and the intertwining of faith and scientific endeavor.”

Wherever you are, may you be filled with the awe and wonder of this season, and of the love of God, so freely and abundantly shared with all who would come to see – and may you share that love with all whose lives you touch.

Let us pray: O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Peace and blessing,

Carol+