From the Vicar's Desk...
10212 Fountaingate Drive
Stafford, TX 77477
From the Vicar’s Desk
Dearly beloved Immanuel Family,
Wishing you all a ‘Happy New Year’ in the name of the Almighty who makes everything new.
2020 was strange, difficult, and brought challenges we never even imagined we would face. We look back with gratitude. God kept us safe thus far. I offer prayers and gratitude to those in medical and emergency response professions and all frontline workers. Their efforts have been nothing short of heroic during this year. Thank God for the technology that helped us to worship together and be connected during this Pandemic. Many of us lost our dear ones last year. The resurrected Christ giving us hope to move forward. We all are eagerly waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine, which may ease the present scenario in near future.
We might have received many greetings or wishes like ‘Happy New Year’ at the beginning of 2021. But are we really happy at the dawn of 2021? We all pray and hope that New Year will be a happy one. It is said, ‘the best way to be happy is to make others happy’. Happiness is not a product but a byproduct. Our happiness is the byproduct of our efforts for making others happy (of course not everybody!) through our thoughts words and deeds. Many people do certain things for themselves thinking that they would get happiness out of it. They may get amusements, but not happiness. Some people are waiting to be happy after reaching a point or doing /getting something. The truth is, there is no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when? Our life will always be filled with challenges. Every new day brings a new challenge that we did not calculate or anticipate yesterday. It is best to admit this to ourselves and decide to be happy anyway because happiness is a way, not a destination. Walk the way! So let us try for a new beginning with a different attitude and approach.
Christian life = Christ In Life. Yes, Christ in life is life in Christ, it is life with Christ, it is life for Christ. In the days of the coming New Year, let us live in Christ who makes everything new every day. It is Christ who gives us optimism in our lives. Jesus is with us in every situation of our life every day to face and overcome the new challenges. 2021 will come with its own challenges, but we are ready to face those challenges with full confidence in our Lord who has already overcome the world.
January 6, the Church celebrates The Baptism of Our Lord, ‘feast of Denha’. Denha
is a Syriac word that means dawn or sunrise. Denha refers to the public manifestation of the Trinity at the Baptism of Jesus, where God the Father testified Jesus as the Son of God and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove (Mt. 3:17; Mk. 1:11; Lk. 3:22). Thus the Holy Trinity is revealed to the world, so also Jesus as the Incarnate Son of God. Western Churches celebrate the visit of the Magi on January 6th, which is known as Epiphany. Magi laid their best gifts at Jesus’ tiny feet. Let us also surrender our lives to the feet of Jesus as a gift.
On January 25 -28 Church celebrate the fast of Nineveh (three days lent). During this fast, we remember the three days Prophet Jonah spent in the belly of a large fish as penance for his disobedience to God and the atonement of the sinful city of Nineveh. During these days, we should look at our lives and show repentance for our disobedi-ent natures.
The second Sunday of January is observed as the Temperance Sun-day. The temperance movement is a social movement against substance abuse. Gal.5: 19-21 clearly says “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissen-sions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
By God’s grace, Saji Achen successfully completed the procedures related to his health. I thank every member of our parish for your prayers and support. May God continue to use Achen in His vineyard.
I am humbled before the Lord almighty to lead us during this pandemic. Let me whole-heartedly thank Mr. Mathew Zachariah (Babu) and his family for extending their gener-ous hands to pay off the loan of our Immanuel Centre. They offered $113,0000.00 as an interest-free loan for two years. But within nine months we could pay back the whole amount because of your benevolent support. "It is God's doing, marvelous in our eyes".
The covid -19 cases are alarmingly increasing. So It is highly recommended, for time being, to attend our services through digital platforms (Zoom/YouTube).
Let me appreciate all the office bearers and committee members of 2020. Their sup-port and leadership especially during this Pandemic were commendable. Vice presi-dent Mr. K.K. John, Secretary Mr. M.G. Philip, Trustee Mr. T.V. Mathew, Accounts trustee Mr. Mathews Varghese, Lay Leaders Mr. Koshy Thekkethundiyil and Mr. Alan John took extra efforts to make things smooth. May God reward them for their genuine services.
He is Immanuel, God is with us (Mt.1: 23) and he has promised “I will be with you al-ways, to the end of the ages” (Mt.28:20) Let us enter into the New Year with his divine assurance and hope. Let every day of the New year be a new day and a happy day in Christ and with Christ. May the Almighty help us all for that in everyday our lives.
“I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I know who holds it”
With warm and prayerful regards,
Servant in Christ,
Rev. Abraham Varghese (Anu Achen)
Vicar, Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Houston