From the Pastor

            “Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat, please to put a penny in the old man’s hat. If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do. And if you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you,” is an old English Folk Song. It was sung as children went through the neighborhood, singing carols and people would offer what they could. It was their way of Sharing Christmas in good times and bad times. It is similar to what many of us did as children going from house to house singing the Kalanda.
          The eminent writer Aleksandr Solzhenitzen tells a story of 10 year old Zoya, who lost her parents during the communist rule because they were Christians. They had imbued their daughter with the same virtues and gave their life for Christ as they would not deny Him.

They shared their faith with their daughter and when she was taken captive, she was placed in a school to be “re-educated.” Through a number of years of “instruction” she clung to a cross given her by her mother. At the age of 14, she was sentenced to death. As she was being led for execution, she looked up and saw a Church with its domes. She also heard faint hymns and prayers and sang and prayer along with them to the dismay of her guards. She was sharing her faith because she saw the Church and held her cross.

It was the few left who kept the Church open, who risked their lives for Christ, who wanted the Church to be there when the time came for God to liberate them from the tyranny of communism. And it came in due time; 1989. From that time to today, many faithful came out to live their faith openly, to give of what they had, to restore and rebuild Church buildings that had been damaged by vandals. They showed with their offerings of time, talent and treasure, a renewal of the Orthodox Faith in a land that was once communist.

It was their gift in return from the gift they had received from God, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Him they saw the One who kept them from torture, and who heard their prayers for those who died for the Orthodox Faith.

In the Birth of Christ, they heard the words of love, peace, joy and hope in hymns and in prayers. In the Birth of the Savior, they discerned that as they waited for his birth, they would prepare gifts of their own, so the next generation, prayerfully living without the yoke of communism, would flock to the Churches in gratitude for the gifts they receive. And so it happened.

From the day the wall was torn down, thousands of Churches have been reopened. Thousands upon thousands of Orthodox Christians flock to the Churches to hear the word of God. The children and adults gather with their gifts in hand to Share Christmas today and for tomorrow.

As we come upon the end of the calendar year, our parish of St. George Shares Christmas in many ways with gifts and help to others. St. George depends upon all of our faithful to Share Christmas by a generous gift of gratitude to God for His many gifts to us.

Will you be willing to Share Christmas with a gift to St. George?

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