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Fortieth Day of Christmas Advent. For so has God Loved the World (Part II)

But the road from Bethlehem to Zion is long, and is leading us through Gethsemane and Golgotha. Already in Bethlehem the newborn Godchild is presented with funeral offerings by the Wise Men from the East. “Today God leads the Wise Men to worship through the star, prefiguring His three-day burial in gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” The very doors of the Bethlehem cavern are nearly stained with the innocent blood of the children who were killed

Thirty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent. For so has God Loved the World (Part I)

By Father Georges Florovsky That we begin our reckoning of time with Christ’s birth is a fact which has long been but a mere convention for many. Seldom does one recall and recognize the great event from which we count time. So do we betray our ignorance and insensitivity. In ancient days, time was computed from the Incarnation of God the Word. It signifies that we live in a world which has been renewed and

The Thirty-Eighth Day of Christmas Advent. What Shall We Offer You, O Christ?

The Church’s liturgy of the winter festal season speaks not only of the hospitality which the Son of God comes to give to His people. It tells also of the hospitality which He hopes to receive from them when He comes. The songs and hymns of the services call the faithful to welcome God’s Son, to accept Him, to greet Him, to go forth to meet Him. The most wise Lord comes to be born,

The Thirty-Seventh Day of Christmas Advent. What to Give to the One Who Made Everything?

By Fr. John Parker So here is a twist on the usual question:  what do you get for that someone who *made* everything?  I confess to you, dear reader, that the question comes a bit crassly off my fingertips.  But the truth is, here we are, at the inauguration of the Christmas feast—which continues through December 31 in Orthodox Christianity—and while we are hauling bags of wrapping paper and boxes to the curb (not the

Thirty-Fourth Day of Christmas Advent. Jesus was Born that He Might Die.

By Hierodeacon Herman Majkrzak In many European cultures, and in America too, singing and listening to carols is a well-loved Christmas tradition. And many Orthodox communities in the West have admirably incorporated some of the best of these carols into their Nativity celebrations. Often, though, for Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike, our knowledge of this rich repertoire does not extend much beyond the first couple verses of a dozen or so of the most famous carols.

The Thirtieth Day of Christmas Advent. Accepting the Lord’s invitation.

By Fr. Steven Kostoff Within the Orthodox Church, the Sunday between December 11-17 is called, simply enough, the “Second Sunday Before the Nativity of the Lord,” and more specifically, the “Sunday of the Forefathers.”  This liturgical preparation for the Feast of our Lord’s Nativity—something of a build-up—is a conscious echo of the lengthy time of preparation, determined by God and embodied in the history of Israel, before the sending of His only-begotten Son into the

The Twenty-Seventh Day of Christmas Advent. The Morality of Christmas.

By Father Stephen Freeman Morality is tricky business in what is an extremely moral society. I pray my readers to be patient with me as I explain what I think is the problem. First, I will note that morality is all that is left when the most fundamental grounds of a culture have been destroyed. We indeed live in just such a time, hence the rise of a vehemence in the moral life. Second, I will suggest

Twenty-Fourth Day of Christmas Advent. Mystery of Incarnation.

God’s revelations are always pointed, concrete, and specific. They are not a Platonic world of ideas and theories about which you can be right or wrong, or observe from a distance. Divine Revelation is not something you measure or critique. It is not an ideology but a Presence you intuit and meet! It is more Someone than something. All of this is called the “mystery of incarnation”—enfleshment or embodiment if you prefer—and for Christians it

The Twenty-Third Day of Christmas Advent. The Nativity Fast.

By Abbot Tryphon, December 7, 2019  Can we be a Christian without fasting? The Nativity Fast is already in progress for those on the Gregorian (New) Calendar, and the Julian (Church) Calendar. During this period of prescribed fasting we are to abstain from all meat, dairy, eggs, cheeses, and all animal products. The Church does allow for fish on the weekends during the Nativity Fast. Fasting is so important for the Orthodox Christian that many

The Seventeenth Day of Christmas Advent. I’ll Be Small for Christmas

By Father Stephen Freeman Children today are raised with dreams of greatness. Cultural affirmations of our limitless potential, well-intentioned, have not produced a generation of over-achievers, but have indeed brought forth hordes of great dreams. This is nothing new in American culture. We are the world’s longest sustained pep-talk. Ronald Reagan loved to quote the 1945 Johnny Mercer hit: You’ve got to accentuate the positive Eliminate the negative Latch on to the affirmative Don’t mess