We Celebrate Christmas !
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Christos Razdajestsja! Slavite Jeho!
God is with us! God is with us! Give ear, O you nations! Be humbled, for God is with us!”
God is with us! God is with us! The words of the hymn sung at the Great Compline, the evening prayer service introducing the Vigil of the Nativity (Christmas Eve) announce the joy which is Christmas: the coming of a Savior, the Messiah, for which all Christians gratefully rejoice. What a marvelous gift, a mystery and event of such magnitude that the entire history of the world is changed forever.
Pause for a moment and consider that. The history of the world transformed by the arrival of a tiny baby — a plan of God so amazing and actualized in such a way that transcends all human reasoning. In our limited vision we find ourselves at a loss to understand, and like our Blessed Mother Mary, we can only repeat, “How can this be?”
This is the timeless gift that God gives us in His mercy and desire to bring all to eternal life. This is the perfect gift that has no equal. No product or act of human creation can approach God’s gift to us, and we deceive ourselves if we believe otherwise. This is a gift freely given, but ours to receive, if we so choose to live in relationship with Christ Jesus.
In Christmas, hope becomes reality. God comes to us. God lives among us. Christmas is the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament. The wait is over. God takes on humanity to save humanity.
The words chanted in the Liturgy on Christmas Day:
I see a strange and marvelous mystery, heaven is a cave; the cherubic throne, a Virgin; the manger has become the place in which Christ the incomprehensible God lies down. Let us praise him and extol Him.
We celebrate Christmas on December 25. Our Orthodox brothers and sisters also celebrate on January 7. Christmas does not end on those days. The world puts an end to Christmas on December 26th, but our celebration is different. Our celebration is more than all that Christmas has become.
When we continue to keep holy in our hearts and minds the revelation of our Lord in His Nativity in the days following Christmas, we are proclaiming that we are different. We do not follow what the world wants us to be. We are more. We are encouraged to be a visible sign to others of who and what we are, just as God came to us as a visible sign.
With the end of pre-Christmas distractions and Christmas Day, the post-festal period of Christmas begins. This post-festal time is from December 26 to December 31. We now have the time to spiritually reflect in the peacefulness found between Christmas and the Feast of Theophany. But if we are not careful, we might become sidetracked again in the post-holiday frenzy or the rush to hide it all away as no longer relevant, and in our haste to clean it all up and push it off, totally miss the special holiness of this time.
Our guide to growing in the virtue of perseverance is found in the familiar stories from the bible. The Wise Men were single focused and intent upon finding Baby Jesus, the real treasure. And they would not allow anything to lead them off course. Or to give up in the many months their travels must have taken.
We might consider ways to find the treasure of the Christ Child not just before and on Christmas, but in the post-festal days also. God comes to us when all is calm, all is bright. No one can do it for us, that is, to experience God. But we can make the time in sitting quietly for a few minutes, listening to beautiful music, talking to God in prayer, reading a spiritual book we had no time earlier, or just pausing in the middle of the day and being aware of God. And all that Jesus in the form of a little baby really wants from us is simple. Why do we find it so difficult? Jesus only asks us in to cradle him close to our hearts and offering our “self” as a gift in return.
Don’t celebrate everything else and miss the best gift of all.
Keep Christ and Christmas in your heart and soul – alive and renewed!
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Christmas Carol: Angels From Heaven
Angels from heaven came to you shepherds; Have no fear! Have no fear! Hasten to honor Him, born near in Bethlehem; Offer gifts, though poor and small.
There in a manger, you will behold Him, Son of God, Son of God. Child whose humility, veils his Divinity, our true Savior, Christ the Lord.