On Sunday afternoon, January 5, 2020, parishioners of Saint Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church gathered to begin the celebration of the Holy Nativity & Theophany (Birth & Revelation) of our Lord Jesus Christ. Following the Mid-day (Jashoo) & Evening Services, as evening drew near, students of Saint Gregory Church's Sunday/Armenian School read the ten readings from the Old Testament foretelling the birth and revelation of the promised Messiah, who was born in a stable in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago. This services is known as Jrakalooyts because it traditionally takes place during the lighting of the church lanterns on Christmas and Easter Eves.
At the conclusion of the Jrakalooyts readings, the altar curtain was drawn and amid a joyful atmosphere the Christmas Eve Divine Liturgy began. Young and old joined together in singing "Christ is born and revealed!" At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the students led the procession of the choir, deacons, Der Hayr and all the faithful to Jaffarian Hall where a beautiful Christmas Eve (khutoom) table had been set. Der Hayr read the final Gospel reading about the shepherds and the angels, after which our "spiritual home" of Saint Gregory Church was blessed (bread, water and salt).
In his remarks, Der Hayr reminded the faithful that it was not enough that the shepherds heard the glad tidings of the angels. Not only were they moved to get up and say, "Let us go to Bethlehem," but also once they had encountered the new-born Lord and Savior, they went away praising God and proclaiming the good news -- as they had no doubt learned from the angels. He reminded the joyous crowd that they too needed to sing "Glory to God in the highest" tonight, so that the fallen world would hear the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.
The following morning, Monday, the faithful once again gathered for the solemn Holy Divine Liturgy on the occasion of our Lord's Holy Nativity and Theophany. A delicious luncheon, hosted by the Board of Trustees, followed in Jaffarian Hall.