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The Thirtieth Day of Christmas Advent. Gifts in Silence.

Vasie-Leigh Andriotis As a person in the Facebook era, I am showered by daily “status” updates and photographs of my friends’ children.  There is such a great joy and anticipation when a child comes into the world or just your world.   Family and friends are so happy to see those new little faces that they have been anticipating.  It is hard to contain the excitement. It must have been unimaginable for Mary and Joseph, preparing

The Twenty-Nineth Day of Christmas Advent. I’ll Be Small for Christmas.

By Father Stephen Freeman, December 19, 2016 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

The Twenty-Fourth Day of Christmas Advent. Celebrating the Nativity as a Family.

The Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Today God came unto sinners; let not the righteous man exalt himself over sinners! Today the Most Rich One became poor for our sake; let the rich man invite the poor to his table! Today we received a gift which we did not ask for; let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us and beg! The present day has opened

The Twenty-Third Day of Christmas Advent. It’s About Time.

Early peoples created Myths, when they could not explain how or why things happened – from their own emotions to Nature. Traditional historians rely on man’s written & drawn records to interpret past progress & myths. Archaeologists’ science & artifacts form the basis of our knowledge of prehistorical civilizations, most of which seem to be in Africa, Europe, & Asia. We don’t know much about ancient cultures here in North America, but we need to.

The Nineteenth Day of Christmas Advent. Have a Dickens of a Christmas.

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 24, 2019  In the late 1600’s in colonial Boston, the celebration of Christmas was against the law. Indeed, anyone evidencing the “spirit of Christmas” could be fined five shillings. In the early 1800’s, Christmas was better known as a season for rioting in the streets and civil unrest.1 However, in the mid-1800’s some interesting things changed the cultural response to the feast and, in 1870, Christmas was declared a federal holiday

The Fifteenth Day of Christmas Advent. The Christmas When Everybody Was There.

By Stephen Freeman, December 24, 2018  The soldiers were scattered across Europe with the loneliness of war. The world was caught up in a total struggle. Women had gone to the factories; children were collecting scrap metal. The “war effort” was universal. In many places, food was rationed. The madhouse of consumption belonged only to the war; everything else could wait. And there was Christmas. Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley were part of the effort

The Eighth Day of Christmas Advent. The Morality of Christmas.

By Stephen Freeman, November 16, 2019  You might be thinking that it’s too early to hear about Christmas – Thanksgiving is yet a couple of weeks away. However, for the Orthodox, the Nativity Fast began on November 15. It is already time to give our thoughts to Christmas – our Winter Pascha. This article (a reprint) reflects on a theme that has been present in my thoughts for several years. I pray it will be

Third Day of Christmas Advent: The Nativity Fast

ADVENT-DERIVED FROM the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”—is a word that is not often used by Orthodox Christians living in the Eastern parts of the world. It is used more frequently by Orthodox Christians living in the West, for the simple reason that when they say “Advent”, other Christians immediately understand they are referring to a period of preparation before the Great Feast of Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord. However, there are three key differences

The Forty Days of Christmas: The Presentation, “Ypapanti,” of our Lord

By Stephen Freeman My title is slightly misleading. There are not “forty days of Christmas” in the Orthodox Church – but there is a major feast that marks the fortieth after Christmas: the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, sometimes called the Feast of the Meeting (February 2). It occurs forty days after Christmas in accordance to the requirements of the Jewish Law. Tradition holds that Joseph and Mary brought the child to Jerusalem before

A Faerie Apocalypse

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 1, 2015  Somewhere in the late 60’s (my teen years), I found myself home recuperating from an appendectomy. In those days they actually recommended a period of convalescence before returning to normal activities (today’s medical advice, written in insurance offices, deems recuperation to be a needless bit of a money-drain). But I suddenly had extra time on my hands with little to do. I searched the bookshelves for something unread,