Dates/Times: June 11-15, 2012 — 5:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Location: Holy Trinity Orthodox Church — 119 S. Sparks St., State College, PA
The days immediately preceding Christmas are busy days. Extensive preparations are made in our homes and in our churches for a worthy celebration of our Lord’s Nativity and most people feel at Christmastime some mellowing of heart, some meaning in every Godly act. Yet powerful forces contend against the meaning of Christmas.
Commercialism often clouds the sky that should be radiant only with the glory divine. To many children, Santa Claus, who comes where we are and brings what we want, is a more vivid reality than a baby born in a manger a long time ago. As for their parents, weary shopping trips and the prob¬lem of thinking up something to give at a permissible cost to somebody who already has everything keep them from pondering much on the real meaning of the feast.
The symbols and the legends, the music and the poetry, the colors and traditions, the gifts and the bills we associate with the season, but are these all that Christmas means? Men, women, and children search for meaning. We must not dodge the question as it relates to Christmas.
The coming of God to man for healing and salvation, an event we celebrate at Christmas, means so much that the whole great drama of Christian redemption takes its rise from it. Jesus entered the arena of human conflict (“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”). He came, not under sponsorship of men, but at the behest of the Father. Throughout His earthly days, He pointed the way for men to go — summoning them to the Kingdom in a spirit of forgiving and redeeming. Jesus’ life was the demonstration of a God-oriented life, and He makes this life available to us. For all who look into His face and see there the face of God, life can never be the same again. We are redeemed from the burden of sins that would break us if they were not forgiven. We are saved from a meaningless existence and redeemed from bewilderment.
With the coming of Christ, we are given the promise of a continuing and sustaining power. In all of our haste and obsession to find the short-cuts, we have abbreviated the angels’ song. We have left off the first part — “Glory to God in the highest” — but it hasn’t worked. We’ve tried to solve our problems ourselves, all the while ignoring man’s relation to God. We are created to be children of God. If we will not live as children of a heavenly Father, we are not likely to live as brothers to each other. The old saying is true: we must put God at the center of life or life will be off-center. We must remember God’s love, or there will be no current of warmth and good in our relationships. The birth of Jesus tells us that we must first look up to a higher world before we can look out on a better one.
With these things in mind, the theme our Vacation Bible School (VBS) is “From Heaven to Bethlehem” where our children will study the Nativity of Christ. Although, we always try to “fit” in the real meaning and joy Christmas for our children during the season we are often overcome by the distractions mentioned above. By studying the Nativity in the summer, there will be dedicated time (away from the distractions) to understand how we prepare for the feast, to explore Christ’s genealogy, to learn about the winter saints, and of course study of the Feast itself. Additionally, there will lessons about Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, and the journey Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem.
The Vacation Bible School, which will be conducted in the evening (5:15 PM to ~ 8:15 PM) includes a dinner and is open to all children from Pre-K through rising sixth graders.