Monday, January 5, 2015



Dear friends in Christ,

I would like to invite all of the readers of this blog to join us on Wednesday evening, January 7th, at 6:30 PM to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 7th, is Orthodox Christmas. We will be celebrating a Solemn Mass of the Nativity of Christ at 6:30 PM with incense, our Vested Choir, Gregorian chant and joyous Christmas music. Come and experience our incomparable Liturgy. 

The church and parish hall are beautifully decorated for Christmas and the smell of pine fills the air. We have a beautiful Christmas tree in the church, with many poinsettias, wreathes and pine hangings. On Wednesday evening we will be lighting the fifth candle on the Advent Wreath - the Christmas candle, and our Nativity Scene will be set up as well. There will also be flowers on the altar again and the Gloria in Excelsis will return to the Liturgy.  

After the Liturgy there will be a traditional Christmas party in our parish hall. The parish hall is also festively decorated with poinsettias, and a small Christmas tree, and is warm and inviting. Members of our church family are asked to bring refreshments for the party, but visitors do not have to bring a thing — they are our guests! Just come and celebrate the birth of our newborn King! Come and glorify Him!

Why are we celebrating Christmas on January 7th? For a thousand years all Christians were on the same calender, the Julian Calendar. Even after the Great Schism of 1054, all Christians East and West continued to use the same ancient Calender. Then, more than a half millennium later, Pope Gregory XIII of Rome introduced a New Calendar in the year 1582, the Gregorian Calender. Initially, the Protestant countries continued using the Old, or Julian Calender, but one by one for reasons of trade and economics these countries adopted the New Calender. The last Western power to adopt the New Calender was the British Empire in 1752. Until the mid-18th century our British fore-bearers in the Faith and our Colonial American ancestors remained on the Old Calender with the Orthodox Churches. When the British government finally adopted the New Calender there were protests and even riots in the Empire, including the American Colonies. When Holy Cross parish entered the Orthodox Church in June of 2013, we returned to the ancient Christian Calender. The Old Calender is thirteen days behind the New Calendar, so Christmas Day, December 25th, on the ancient Calender falls on January 7th on the Gregorian or New Calender.

In a day when Christians universally decry the materialism and commercialism of Christmas, Orthodox Christians are able to focus on Jesus Who is the only real Reason for the Season. When Santa and the reindeer have come and gone, we still have two weeks left in Advent to spiritually prepare for a Christ-centered Christmas. 

Even if you have already celebrated Christmas and have taken down your decorations come and celebrate with us. Christmas is the best time of the year You cannot have enough of Christmas!

Let’s keep Christ in CHRISTmas and the Mass in ChristMAS. Come and join us for the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ on Wednesday evening, January 7th, at 6:30 PM, and plan to remain for our traditional Christmas party after the Liturgy. You will be both welcome and blessed. Our address is:

HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH, 7545 Main Street, Ralston, Nebraska 68127. For more information or for directions call the church at (402) 573-6558.

We are a faithful and friendly church, and we have a place for you. See you there!