As we enter the final few days before Christmas, our waiting enters into a newer level of suspense. The birth of Jesus is coming, but he has not arrived just yet.
The book Songs in Waiting: Spiritual Reflections of Christ’s Birth written by Paul-Gordon Chandler reminds me that suspenseful waiting is part of Middle Eastern literature. Consider the classic Arabian Nights Entertainments (often called 1001 Arabian Nights) which captures the imagination of many around the world. Its pages tell of the Emperor Shahriar, who is convinced that all women are treacherous. He vows to marry a new woman every day and execute her the next morning.
One day, a young Arab woman named Scheherazade is selected to marry the emperor. To delay her inevitable execution she tells the emperor a story of interlinking tales for 1,001 nights, and his curiosity keeps Scheherazade’s death at bay. (She tells stories like Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Sinbad the Sailor, King of the Black Isles, and Aladdin). Each of the stories is filled with surprise, leaving the emperor eagerly anticipating the next day’s story, until he eventually falls in love with the clever storyteller.
I hope that our own waiting is filled with wonder and hopeful expectation. The Prince of Peace is coming.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services
St. Andrew’s English-speaking congregation will celebrate Christmas Eve on December 24th with a Service of Lessons and Carols with Holy Communion. We begin our celebrations with a variety of Christmas music from around the world at 6:30 pm. The worship service will begin at 7 pm. On Christmas Day, Pastor Peter will be preaching and presiding in English at the Sudanese congregations’ service that begins at 10 am. All are welcome.
Fellowship on Christmas Eve; All Are Welcome
Following our Christmas Eve service, a time for festive fellowship will be held in the Guild Hall. You are welcome to bring holiday goodies with you to share as we celebrate Christmas together.
Festival Choir Rehearsal on Christmas Eve
Thanks to all the members of the Festival Choir for enhancing our worship this holiday season! Please arrive for rehearsal at 6 pm on Christmas Eve so that we can practice our songs before worship.
Christmas Eve Offering
It is customary for St. Andrew’s to give our Christmas Eve offering to service organizations working on behalf of people in need in our community. The Church Council will provide leadership in the disbursements of funds during the month of January. Last year, gifts were distributed to Presbyterian families of the bus accident in Menya, St. Mary’s Orphanage in Maadi, and to Father Salib in the villages of Alama and Sabah in Shubra El Kheima. Please give generously.