THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
December 31, 2023
Sixth Sunday of Advent
A Very Happy & Healthy New Year to One and All
Scripture and Feast Day Notes
From Today’s Readings
Luke 22:24-30 At the Last Supper, on the very night Jesus would be arrested and taken to His death, the disciples are disputing who among them is the greatest. Jesus reminds them (oh, the endless patience of our Lord!) that they are not to be like the world where those in authority are considered important. Rather the greatest are those who serve humbly as He Himself was doing at their table. He commends them for being at His side; to such He promises a kingdom and a place at His table where they will dine seated on thrones (an image of the joyous fellowship possible in His presence) and judge the 12 tribes of Israel.(1 Cor 6:2-3). Discuss/reflect: Greatness in the world is often perceived as lording it over others. Jesus teaches that greatness is in serving others rather than ourselves. Think of a time when you felt unappreciated. How might these verses inspire you to feel otherwise?
Hebrews 13:18-25 The epistle writer asks for his readers’ prayers. The Greek verb suggests a continuous activity, so we understand they have been praying and will continue. He is sure he has done his utmost for them, hoping their prayers will soon bring him face-to-face with these people whom he clearly loves. He himself prays that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, continue to guide them on their journey to spiritual maturity. Discuss/reflect: Prayerfully read 13:20-22. Now pray this in your own words and address it to a specific person.
Isaiah 51:15-52:3 God affirms his lordship over the people of Jerusalem, asking them to wake from their spiritual torpor and remember their harsh lesson of God’s judgment (“cup of wrath”). He promises to take that cup from their hand and place it that of their enemies. Awake! He exhorts them for the third time, and be strong – they are now free of their chains and redeemed. Discuss/reflect: What six things does Zion need to do (52:1-2) as they move from chained and drunken with God’s wrath to being free? How might this translate to your own life?
The Feast of Theophany: Saturday, January 6
The Armenian Church celebrates the birth and baptism of Christ on the feast of Asdvadzahaydnootyoon on January 6. Surprisingly to us today, the birth of Jesus was of minor interest to the Early Church. The nativity of Christ was not viewed as the “birthday” of Jesus Christ the same way we tend to view birthdays; rather, the reverent emphasis was on Christ’s death and resurrection (beautifully demonstrated in Armenian miniatures where the baby Jesus is always shown with a cross embedded in His halo). Yet looking back at His birth from the perspective of His death, the nativity takes on deeper meaning, not as the birthday of a person, but as the coming of salvation into this world in Jesus Christ. Good News to us! Reflection: Read the cherished Christmas story as told in Luke 2:1-20. What particular detail do you “treasure and ponder in your heart” (v.19)?
Christ was born and revealed! Blessed is the revelation of Christ!
Department of Christian Education/Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)/email@example.com
REQUIEM SERVICES: Hokehankist today will be for:
Everyone, everywhere who has lost a loved one at any time. Individually and collectively, we continue to remember and pray for all.
Fellowship Today: There will be no coffee hour today. Please use this time to reflect on the true meaning of the season.
Pomegranates Are Donated Today By Rev. Fr. Hakob Gevorgyan.
Pomegranate Blessing Service – In the Armenian tradition, the pomegranate as a national symbol reflects the meaning of life, prosperity and abundance. In the Christian symbolism the pomegranate represents the blood shed by Jesus Christ, symbolizing also the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord and the diversity of God’s grace. In the interpretations of our church fathers, the pomegranate is presented that the church members are as diverse as the granules of the pomegranate, but the pomegranate is covered by a solid peel, all being united in one Church. This blessing service was directed by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and should be conducted within 30 minutes of the new year. However, for the sake of convenience, we will be conducting this thanksgiving service following Badarak today.
With Love, We Remember – Please join us on Sunday, January 14 for our annual Day of Remembrance in which we honor the memory of those in our community who passed away in 2023. Immediately following the Divine Liturgy, there will be a brief candle-lighting service and hokehankisd. Through this ceremony, now in its 10th year, the entire Holy Trinity parish shares in each family’s loss and remembers all the departed with love, gratitude, and consoling prayer.
Armenian Christmas – We invite everyone to our Christmas Eve Service on Friday, January 5 @ 6:00 pm. which will be followed by a House blessing in Santerian Hall and a Fellowship Meal. Please bring food to share for our buffet table.
Prayer Request – We ask our faithful to continue to pray for Shoghig Terjimanian, the mother of Dn. Armen, who recently suffered a brain bleed at her home in Michigan. Please pray for her return to good health and strength for her family.
Men’s Club News – The latest Men’s Club drawings for the “200 Club” were completed on 11/12 & 12/3. Please visit the church website under “Men’s Club” for details on the lucky winners!
Renovations are Complete – The newly remodeled restrooms are available for use. Each one is now a “Single-Use”, Family-type Restroom and is Handicap accessible. This upgrade means anyone can use either restroom. There is a locking mechanism on each door. Other than just washing your hands, we request that you lock the door after you enter. The status of each restroom is visible on the exterior of the door, either “vacant” or “in use”. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the church office.
Reminder – According to the Diocesan Bylaws, membership dues are to be paid no later than December 31st each year in order to be a member in “good standing” and to be eligible to vote at the annual assembly. Any monies received after that date will be applied to the new year. For any questions regarding your status, please call the church office.
Humanitarian Support for Artsakh Ongoing From The Knights And Daughters Of Vartan – As the Azeri government still cracks down on the Armenian people in the nation of Artsakh, the people are not giving up! Please consider making a donation to the Knights and Daughters of Vartan Call to Action Committee! Donations will go towards humanitarian aid. For further information please visit the Knights and Daughters of Vartan website @ https://kofv.org/a-call-to-action-from-kdv-for-artsakh/
Mail your donations to Knights of Vartan, Mr. Ronald Nazeley,Treasurer, 558 Kentwood Bluffs Drive, Los Angeles 90045.
Artsakh Support Desperately Needed – Since early this year, we have closely followed the news from and about Artsakh. We prayed often, deeply and fervently. We didn’t know what else to do. Our hearts broke when the unimaginable happened and Artsakh was lost to us. Now is our time to help the thousands of refugees who had to flee to mainland Armenia to seek a safe haven. They left their homes and most of their belongings forever. We are appealing to our faithful to give generously from your heart to help our sisters and brothers who have given their all.
Checks should be made to Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Memo: Artsakh, and brought or mailed to church. Online donations can be made by going to www.holytrinity-pa.org, go to donations, scroll down to Open Donation and enter Artsakh.
Pastor’s Weekly ZOOM Bible Study – Bible study will resume in January 2024. Even though we are not meeting together on ZOOM, please continue to enrich your knowledge by revisiting what we have already learned. Share what you have learned with family and friends.
The Kiss of Peace – After the gifts of the Eucharist are brought to the Altar Table, the deacon proclaims, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” The person giving the greetings says, Kristos ee mech mer Haydnetsav – Christ is revealed amongst us. The recipient would respond, Orhnial eh Haydnootiunun Kristosee – Blessed is the revelation of Christ.
Seeking Part-time Organists – the Choir of Holy Trinity continues to seek multiple talented musicians who would be seriously interested in playing the organ for the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy (Badarak) on a rotating schedule. Organ lessons will be provided to the interested candidates, along with one-on-one direction from a senior choir person. For further information, contact Karinne Andonian @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Blessing of Pomegranates
- Immediately Following The Divine Liturgy
Jan 1 – New Years Day
Jan 5 – Armenian Christmas Eve – 6:00pm
Jan 6 – Armenian Christmas – 10:30am
Jan 7 – Water Blessing Service – following Badarak
Jan 14 – Annual Day of Remembrance – following Badarak