The Seventh Day of Christmas Advent. The Nativity: An Icon of the Christian Family

By Fr. Vasile Tudora Everyone’s favorite time of the year is the period before Christmas, when the air is filled with joy, peace and expectation. We are blessed to live in a country that looks forward to Christmas although we might seem to have lost some of its meaning along the way.  We have radio stations that air carols without ceasing, exalting the season, although many of them speak about snow, jolly figures carrying gifts,

The Sixth Day of Christmas Advent. How Big Is Your Christmas?

By Father Stephen Freeman We have entered the days when news pundits are asking, “Will Christmas be big this year?” When individuals ask one another, “Are you having a big Christmas this year?” It is understood that economics are involved (as with the media). Our modern economies are greatly dependent on the massive buying that occurs between late November and late December. Christmas shopping is so good for the economy (as presently constituted) that if Christ

The Second 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 First Day of Christmas Advent. Fasting from the Sentiments of the Feast

By Father Stephen Freeman I have a favorite Joni Mitchell song. In her very mournful style she sings about the season before Christmas: It’s comin’ on Christmas, They’re cuttin’ down trees, They’re puttin’ up reindeer and singin’ songs of joy and peace. Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on…I would teach my feet to fly! It is a melancholy tune, echoing the bittersweet experience of the culture Christmas. We love

Nativity Devotion, November 14: In the Beginning

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis in The Prayer Team In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.  And God said “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:1-3 Good morning Prayer Team! Unlike our American culture which celebrates from now until Christmas, with celebrations ending promptly on December 26,

Nativity Devotion, November 13: Our Advent Journey Begins

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis in “The Prayer Team” Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 Good morning Prayer Team! We are about to take a journey.  Whether one is a devout Christian or doesn’t know Christ at all, we are all about to take a journey that will see Christmas decorations go up, lines at the malls get long, and stress levels go up.  Such

Feast of the Ascension of our Lord. He Ascended in Glory

So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. Mark 16:19 (From the Third Eothinon Gospel of the Sunday Orthros) “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” And when He had said this,

Tuesday of the 5th Week of Pascha. The Story of the Nativity in Nine Words

And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (From the Gospel at the Divine Liturgy on Pascha) Christ is Risen! We’ve all seen displays of the Nativity in our homes and churches during the Christmas season. Christmas plays and pageants highlight the story of the shepherds and angels, told in the Gospel of Luke, and the Magi, as told in the Gospel of Matthew. In some sense,

Friday of the Third Week of Lent. By THIS All Men Will Know That You Are My Disciples

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (From the First Gospel on Holy Thursday Evening) Everyone lives busy lives. We even call our lives “crazy busy” at times. Christ knows that our lives are busy. If you envision

Thursday of Cheese-fare. He Had to Become Like Us in Every Way

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered and been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted. Hebrews 2: 17-18 (Epistle on the Feast of the Annunciation-March 25) When mankind fell through the sin of Adam and