January 2009 letter
We are quickly approaching the New Year, we pray that it will be a blessing to our lives and families and all our beloved. We are also preparing for the Nativity Feast chanting the beautiful heavenly hymn, “Glory to God in the highest peace on earth and good will towards men”. The appearance of angels in the Old Testament was very terrifying. For example:
v When an archangel appeared to Joshua as a man with a sword in his hand, Joshua fell to the ground and kneeled down and said, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” (Joshua 5: 13-14)”
v When the angel appeared to Samson’s father and his wife offered a sacrifice to the Lord, the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground and said: “We shall surely die, because we have seen God!” (Judges 13:20-22).
v The Lord’s angel wanted to punish Belaam for not doing what God told him to do. Belaam saw the angel on the road with a sword so he kneeled down. If the donkey had not prevented him, he would have been killed by the angle.
v When the Lord sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, David saw the angel standing between the heaven and earth with a sword in his hand, and flying over Jerusalem “So David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces” (1 Chronicles 21: 16).
These are some examples of the terrifying appearances of angels in the Old Testament. However, in the New Testament the appearance of angels to the shepherds at the birth of the Lord was joyful “behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10). Also, the appearance of the angels to the three Marys at the resurrection to comfort them and remove their freight “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified” (Matthew 28:5).
May the Lord give us with His birth joy, and His peace “which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
We would also like to remind you of the Sunday School Christmas celebration on Wednesday, January 7 at 11:00 a.m.
Please remember the church, the priest, the servants and their services always in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary the mother of God, and the blessing of the Nativity feast be with us always, Amen.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, January 1, 2009