2 THE SHEPHERD • JANUARY 2023 • SAINT SPYRIDON GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF SAN DIEGO As I write this letter to you, we are approach- ing the “night of our dear Savior’s birth.” Last Sunday, our kids played out the story in the annual Christmas Pageant. A “thrill of hope” overcame me as the fresh faces of our chil- dren paraded into the Church filled with old and new faces. In our midst were so many of our young adults who once played the roles and were returning for the Holidays. A erwards, the Hall was filled with holiday cheer as our Sunday School hosted fellow- ship. One of our “regulars” commented to me “I bet there are a lot of people here you don’t know.” I have to be honest, it was such a glorious day to see so many joyous people. I le Church with the angel voices of the kids singing in my head washing away the weari- ness of this year passed. I was reminded that a new and glorious morning awaits us. With the New Year approaching, we are re- minded of making resolutions as an oppor- tunity for change. As I have shared before, at the beginning of each new year, I follow the process outlined in the book One Word that will Change Your Life, to find a word to define my year. It’s a simple process, but re- quires some contemplation. It requires you to pause, “look into” your heart and “look up” to God, and to listen. In your listening, you will hear your/His word. Once you hear it, you are to “look outside” and share your word. is year, as I reflected to find my word, the story of the Widow’s Offering in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 21:1-4) came to me. In the sto- ry, Jesus was sitting opposite the treasury, he saw many rich people put in large amounts, but it was when He saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins that He called His disciples and He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in of- ferings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” I decided my word(s) for 2023 would be “two pennies” to remind me that I have more to give. In his recent Prayer Team Letter, Father Stáv- ros reminded us that the gi s of the Magi weren’t limited to the material gi s of gold, frankincense and myrrh. ey also gave their time,faith,and trust in their two-year journey to Christ. Like the Magi, we can give Christ the gi of our time – “in prayer, in reading Scripture, in worship, in charity/generosity towards others.” We can give Him our gi of trust by continuing the Walk even when we aren’t sure of where we are going.And we can give Him our gi of faith, “by being patient and obedient to His commandments.” While I fall short, over and over again, in giving my all to God, as Father Andrew likes to say “lit- tle by little.” I’mhoping that“two pennies”will remind me that little by little I can give more. I hope and pray that your Holidays were filled with cheer and that you will take time to “hear the angels voices” and in His words you will find the word(s) to guide you. Many Blessings, Jim Gilpin Parish Council President FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL PRESIDENT continues 3 We pray that everyone had a most blessed Holy Nativity and eophany during this beautiful Season of Light. Our group has been on a break for the past month. We will resume our meetings on Wednesday, January 11 and will continue our study of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews. One of the main themes of this epistle is the superiority of Christ. In trying to persuade his audience to stop straying from their new Christian faith, St. Paul states, “He is also Me- diator of a better covenant, which was estab- lished on better promises.” (Heb. 8:6) He is the final fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to His people. In order to understand this passage better, we asked ourselves, What is a covenant? It is an agreement, a relationship that involves both commitment and respon- sibility; it is mutual, it goes both ways. So, in a covenant with God, He makes a perpet- ual promise to protect and provide for His people who, in return, agree to worship and serve only Him. It is an agreement that is something spiritual, an ongoing relationship of God’s enduring love for us and our devo- tion to Him. God always remains faithful to His covenant. In fact, from the very beginning in Genesis and throughout the Old Testament, there were five covenants between God and His people where God “gradually draws all of mankind…closer to Himself.” (OSB, p.361). ese covenants were: the covenant with Noah a er the flood; the covenant with Abraham through whom “all the tribes of the earth will be blessed;” the covenant under Moses, that is, the Law to guide the people in their relationships with God and with one another; the renewal of the Law under Josh- ua – “Now therefore, remove the foreign gods from among you and make your heart straight toward the Lord God of Israel.” (Joshua 24:23) And lastly in the Old Testament, the cove- nant with David, the expectation of a great King and Savior who will rule the earth in righteousness and peace. But this new covenant revealed through Christ is a better covenant because it is about a transformation. rough Christ’s Incarna- tion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection we are shown a new way, about a spiritual cleansing and a renewal of men’s hearts. And it is re- vealed in a mystery as we read in Luke 22:20 where Christ tells His disciples at the Last Supper, “ is cup is the new covenant in My WOMEN WORD OF THE Celebrating the Feast Day of our Parish on December 12 Officiating Fr. Andrew with the assistance of Deacon Michael and with the participation of: Fr. Michael Sitaras & Fr. Angelo Maginas from Sts. Constantine & Helen, Cardiff; Fr. Simeon Corona from St. Gregory of Nyssa, El Cajon; and Fr. Nicholas Andruchow from St. Innocent Chapel, Tijuana