The Abundant Life – December 22, 2016


The Abundant Life


December 22, 2016                     For Sunday, December 25th


From The Rector





Fear Or Not?



Christmas is coming – Its almost here.


The familiar story hints at the ordinary; a young couple traveling to the husband’s ancestral home, a requirement of Roman authorities so that tax rolls would be up to date. This was not a vacation. This is not a civic duty in the way democratic societies understand voting. Mary and Joseph are not Roman citizens and the tax won’t maintain the roads. Most likely it will feed the occupying soldiers and pay a tribute to the Emperor. They were not alone. The story says that everyone was on the tax list. I imagine that the Romans were checking it twice.


In the midst of this forced journey, the baby is born. The backdrop is Empire, not snowflakes, and the accommodations are “make do,” not “well to do.”


The announcement of this birth is not made in the royal palace or at the governor’s headquarters, but to shepherds who were “guarding their sheep at night.” The announcement is unexpected and catches the shepherds by surprise. Like each of the other characters in this story – they are terrified. Neither Zechariah (John the Baptizer’s father), Mary, Joseph, nor these shepherds expected a divine messenger to interrupt their life and they were afraid, they were awe-struck.


The Angel tells them not to be afraid. This encounter won’t kill them, but will change their life. It does not say this, but I wonder. Were the shepherds who guarded sheep at night, being sent to guard the Lamb of God? They recovered from their fear and to the accompaniment of an angelic chorus went, and saw, and perhaps watched over the infant and his parents.


Like the shepherds then, each of us might have reasons to fear in our own day. Whether it is fearing loss of relationship or security, whether it is fearing a broader challenge to the environment, whether it is fearing for those who are homeless or are oppressed, the angelic message of Christmas meets us in our very real fears and invites us to do something different – to be not afraid – to act.


In all of the scenes surrounding Jesus, where a human is confronted with a divine message, the outcome is never about how the subject “feels,” but about what they do as a response. Mary and Joseph each said, “Yes,” and acted to love and nurture the child in their trust. When they were threatened by a tyrant, they found refuge. The shepherds acted by leaving their sheep and seeking the child in the manger.


I am sometimes afraid for the future, as I imagine each of us is, but I hear God calling me – calling all people of faith and good will – to act. We are called to act on behalf of those who are at greatest risk, those who are weak, disconnected, homeless, addicted, poor, grieving, or hopeless.


Join in joyful worship this Christmas with us, where we are learning to act in the face of fear, and step out in faith with the vulnerability and hope of the Christ Child.


Merry Christmas!


Fr. Andrew




Featured Scripture



Luke 2:1-14 Common English Bible (CEB)


In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant.While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.


Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.


The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”







December 24th – Christmas Eve

Carols – 5:45 p.m.

Family Service – 6:00 p.m.

(Childcare available)


Carols – 10:45 p.m.

Midnight Mass – 11:00 p.m.


December 25th – Christmas Day
Holy Communion and Carols – 10:30 a.m.


Please Note:  

The Church Office will close at 12:00 Noon on December 23rd & 30th



Hospitality Ministry



Please join us in the Parish Hall after each Sunday service for coffee and refreshments. 


No Coffee Hour on Christmas Day


 Please consider signing up to be a host. Make it a New Year’s resolution







A Death in the Parish





Taylor Baird died at home on Thursday the 8th.
His funeral will be January 14, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.


Please keep his husband Roger Allen in your prayers.


If you wish to send cards and condolences, his address is:
71 San Simeon Pl
Mission Wells
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270










Communion at Windsor Court


The next Communion Service at Windsor Court is Wednesday, January  11th at 10:15 am. The priest and the residents are always happy to have parishioners attend.





Faith Building  2016

Sundays at 9:15 am in the Library – The Episcopal Cafè




1/1        Christmas Break – No Sessions


1/8       Do you Believe – Baptismal Gospel Reflection  

             Led by Gary Scott

             Read about it


1/15      Come and See – Reflection on John 1:29-42

              Led by Br. John Charles

              Read about it




Tuesdays @ 7PM in the Library


A study of the Gospel of Matthew

Led by Gary Scott & Team


1/3      The Synagogue Down the Street

1/10    The Messiah of Israel

1/17    Jesus and the Torah


Tuesdays @ 7PM at Temple Isaiah 



“Psalm Springs”


A study of selected Psalms led by Rabbi David Lazar and faith leaders from Palm Springs churches.


1/24      Psalm 121   “I lift up my eyes to the hills.”
1/31      Psalm 37     “Trust in the Lord and do Good.”





Office Hours are 9 am – 4:30 pm Tuesday through Friday.  The office is closed on Mondays.
Should you call on Monday when we are closed to the public, please leave a message.  In case of an emergency, a priest will return your call.




Print a copy of The Abundant Life?


Click here




Sunday Worship Childcare
Childcare is available for both the 8:00 a.m. and the 10:30 a.m. services.




The Prayer Shawl Ministry invites you to join our circle on Wednesday’s from 10 am-1 pm in Hogarth Hall. Whether  you wish to learn to knit or crochet or are an  expert needleworker, we welcome you. Needles, hooks and yarn are provided. Please drop in  to create and enjoy our prayerfully made creations.




Report Misconduct
As part of our ongoing commitment to creating a safe haven for everyone, our diocese trains people in the prevention of misconduct and encourages all to report misconduct. All reported incidences are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly and confidentially. If you believe you have experienced misconduct of any kind, please contact Mr. John Seitman,, 858-793-4555 or the Rev. Janet Wheelock,, 952-240-8067.




Bullying Behavior
Not Welcome Here

At St. Paul in the Desert we welcome all worshipers to a place that is free of violence and bullying.
Physical, verbal or emotional violence against others or against oneself is not acceptable because of our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.  Please let Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself be your guide.
“It Gets Better” is a series of video messages to encourage Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender youth and let them know that they are loved as they are.
“A Blessing for Those Who Are Bullied” was written by the Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, a Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
It is not enough to say “NO” to bullies. It is important to stand up for people and to provide resources for those who have been the targets.





The Church of St. Paul in the Desert

Local: 760.320.7488   //  Fax: 760.416.2441
Email:  Website:

125 West El Alameda

Palm Springs, California 92262

Categories Newsletters | Tags: | Posted on December 22, 2016

Comments are closed.

close window

Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

6654 Main Street
Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856