By Father Vasile Tudora
I went on a quest the other day to find out what Christmas truly was. From my usual sources, I got conflicting information. I could not discern if it was a religious commemoration, or another official national holiday, or quality family time, or a very good occasion for shopping. There had to be a simpler explanation. Since I couldn’t figure it out by myself, I went out and asked around.
An industrious businessman, in a succinct conversation we had while walking briskly towards his high-rise office building, told me that for him, Christmas was the time when everything would slow down. He said he liked that for a bit, but he also knew that January would hit afterwards and everything would spike back up to the usual crazy pace. So he had mixed feeling about it and admitted that sometimes he just skips it altogether.
A teacher that I met, while picking up my kids from school, told me that for her, Christmas was a welcomed break from her strenuous teaching duties. She couldn’t wait to just do nothing while binge-watching her favorite TV show. She’d miss her students though, she added, sighing.
A young boy I played basketball with the other day said that for him, Christmas is when he’d finally get the game console he longed for all summer. He’d also eat. A lot.
I also asked a young girl who looked a little stressed out. She told me that Christmas was the break she needed. No more assignments, no more homework, no more readings! She’d just sleep, sleep, and sleep some more. She’d go to church as well… maybe, if she would wake up on time.
An elderly gentleman admitted that he loves the non-stop Christmas carols radio station. All his childhood memories come rushing back when he hears Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas.” He chuckled when he mentioned the sight of his grandchildren as they open their presents in their pajamas, early on Christmas morning. When she heard about the presents, his 4-year-old granddaughter, who was holding his hand, started jumping up and down shouting, “I want a princess, I want a princess!”
A young couple I met at the mall told me that they couldn’t wait for the holiday season pressure to be over. They had to buy presents for everyone, but they didn’t had time, budgets were tight, but they felt like they had to, and it was stressful, and expensive, and the cooking, and the family coming over… and they had to go because there was a great sales event at the toy store.
And then I stopped asking people, and I looked up into the heavens and asked God Himself: ‘My Lord, what is Christmas to You?’ I did not hear a thundering answer coming back at me, but it so happened that the Holy Bible I was holding fell off my lap, and when I picked it up, it was open at this verse: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
You can find it in the Gospel of John, in the third chapter. Take the time to read it; it may save you, sometime.
Blessed Nativity to everyone!
~Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), “What is Christmas to You?” http://myocn.net/meaning-christmas/.
Fr. Vasile Tudora is the Parish Priest at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist in Euless, Texas under the omophorion of Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver. Originally born in Bucharest, Romania he pursued first Medical Studies at the “Carol Davila” University of Medicine in Bucharest. Later he responded the call to priesthood and also pursued theological studies at the “Sfanta Mucenita Filoteea” Theological Institute. Due to his dual background, Fr. Vasile has a special interest in Christian Bioethics and writes articles on contemporary faith issues on his blog and various other blogs and newspapers in English and Romanian. He is married to Presvytera Mirela Tudora, and they cherish every minute of the time they spend with their 5 children: Maria, Luca, Matei, Tatiana and Elena. Beside the Church and the family, Fr. Vasile also longs for the great outdoors and experiments with digital photography.