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Parents’ Grief. Love and the Pain of Leaving. Remembering the Dead.

Parents’ Grief Many parents have to suffer the death of a child, at birth or at a very young age. There probably is no greater suffering than losing a child, since it so radically interferes with the desire of a father and mother to see their child grow up to be a beautiful, healthy, mature, and loving person. The great danger is that the death of a child will take away the parents’ desire to

Prophecies Fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, December 30, 2018 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the Child, to destroy Him.” And he rose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there

The Family of Christ

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, December 29, 2018 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; and I advanced in

The Twelve Days of Christmas in the Orthodox Tradition

By Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse, December 23, 2013 In the Christian tradition of both east and west, the twelve days of Christmas refer to the period from Christmas Day to Theophany. The days leading up to Christmas were for preparation; a practice affirmed in the Orthodox tradition by the Christmas fast that runs from November 15 to Christmas day. The celebration of Christmas did not begin until the first of the twelve days. As our

Making Sense of a Jumbled World. Christmas Eve, 2019

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 27, 2014 Listening to the Nativity collection of readings for the Vespers of Christmas Eve (there were eight of them), my mind drifted to the “jumbled mess” that is the Old Testament. We speak of it as if it were a single thing, when, it is many things (over 40), and some of those things are jumbled concatenations of other jumbled things. I can only imagine what someone coming to

And the Word Became Flesh

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, December 24, 2018 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory. John 1:14 The Gospel accounts of the Nativity are limited to a mere forty verses. In the Gospel of Matthew, there are 19 verses about the Nativity. The Gospel of Luke has 20. The Gospel of Mark makes no mention of the Nativity. It begins with the Baptism of Christ. The Gospel of John

Figures of the Nativity—All of Creation Rejoiced

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, December 14, 2018 We began this short series on figures of the Nativity by comparing them to roles in a Christmas pageant. There are eight defined “speaking” roles in just about every Christmas pageant—Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the magi, the innkeeper, King Herod, the angels and the crowd in Bethlehem. There are some other roles in the story. I’ve watched many a Christmas pageant in my years as a priest,

Put the Dickens back in Christmas

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 20, 2017 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

Figures of the Nativity—The Magi

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, December 13, 2018 Today we continue on our study of the “Figures of the Nativity” by speaking about the Magi, the last people to take part in the story. We are not told how many “Magi” came to worship Jesus. We have settled on three, since three distinct gifts were offered. We know that the Magi came from far away and followed a star for two years before finding the Christ-child

I’ll Be Small for Christmas

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 18, 2017 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