The Seventh Day of Christmas Advent. It Was a Cave, Not a Barn!

And she gave birth to her first born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. -Luke2:7 Every Nativity play I have ever watched has a scene where Mary and Joseph go to an inn and are told that there are no rooms available. They are, however, told that there is a stable out back and are shown to a

On the Presentation of Christ to the Temple

By Father Anthony Hughes This is the third Winter Feast of Light. The Nativity of Christ, Theophany and the Presentation of the Lord are all about the revelation of God, the one true Light, to the world.  So, let me begin with a quote from Dr. Jung that, I think is most apropos. “With a truly tragic delusion…theologians fail to see that it is not a matter of proving the existence of the light, but

The Seventh Day of Christmas: Recognizing God

Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed time, as do the turtledove and the swallow of the field. The sparrows watch for the times of their coming. But my people do not know the judgments of the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:7) ANOTHER COMMON IMAGE in icons of the Nativity is that of the ox and the donkey. Where does the idea that there were animals at the Nativity come from? There is no mention

The Sixth Day of Christmas: The Star of Bethlehem

Balaam laid before us precisely the meaning of the words he spoke in prophecy, when he said that a star would dawn, a star that quenches all prophecies and auguries; a star which resolves the parables of the wise, and their sayings and their riddles, a star far more brilliant than the star which, has appeared, for He is the Maker of all the stars, of whom it was written of old: “From Jacob there

The Fifth Day of Christmas: Light Shines in the Darkness (Feast Day of the Holy Innocents)

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, made the light of knowledge dawn on the world. For through it those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of righteousness, and to know You, the Dawn from on high. O Lord, glory to You! (Apolytikion of the Nativity) THE SEASON OF CHRISTMAS is a feast of light and joy, since we celebrate the coming of “the true Light which gives

The Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: The New Adam

The Creator has come, raising up mankind from the earth, making His royal image new again! (Matins of the Feast, December 20, third hymn of the Praises) AT THE HEART OF THE FEAST of the Nativity is the proclamation that Christ has come to restore Adam to Paradise: Christ comes voluntarily to serve; the Creator now receives the image of impoverished Adam, enriching him with divinity, and granting him a strange restoration and regeneration, for

The Thirty-Ninth 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

The Thirty-Eighth Day of Christmas Advent: For so has God Loved the World (Part I)

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 redeemed already, that even

Thirty-Fifth Day of Christmas Advent: THE FOREFEAST OF THE NATIVITY

Become Like Children “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Mark 10:15) EVERY YEAR AS CHRISTMAS APPROACHES, we hear a great deal of speculation about the meaning of Christmas in a society that is persistently trying to shake off it Christian identity. During such a debate about the meaning of Christmas, one comment in particular struck me: “Christmas is a feast for children.” Although

Twelfth Day of Christmas Advent: Prepare the Way of the Lord!

Our hymns are “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord’” (Is. 40:3). Just as St. John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ by calling the people of Israel to repentance (Matt. 3:1-2) so too does the Church prepare us for the Nativity by exhorting us to “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matt. 3:8). Repentance begins with humility, contrition, tears, and confession, but it does not end there.