Sunday, December 27, 2009

"And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt" (Matthew 2.14)

This morning we are reminded that not everyone was or is glad that God became a human being. As soon as Herod discovered that the King of the Jews was born he sought to destroy Him. This meant that Joseph was forced to take Mary the Mother of God and Christ to Egypt for protection. I see many similarities between this and our societal reaction to Christmas. Already people were removing the decorations from their homes yesterday. It was almost as if people didn’t want to be seen celebrating Christmas. I shouldn’t be surprised because only “religious people” celebrate Christmas after Christmas day. Society has been telling us to celebrate since August. Most people are too tired to celebrate Christmas with anything more than a big dinner followed by 5 minutes of maniac unwrapping of gifts that only minutes later are either already broken or forgotten by the children that were so anxious to receive them.

The Church on the other hand celebrates Christmas for almost two weeks. There really is something as the Twelve Days of Christmas but the FIRST day is Christmas day not the last. If we find ourselves too tired to celebrate Christmas chances are we spent too much time celebrating before Christmas and not enough time preparing. As Orthodox Christians we were asked to increase our fasting, our almsgiving and our Church attendance as preparation for the Feast of Christmas. If we chose to celebrate for a month then we find ourselves no different than this morning’s Gospel because chances are we weren’t in Church this morning.
Many people were not in Church today, the Sunday after Christmas. For many people they might say to themselves, “I had enough Church last week to last me for six months. I’ll go to Church again for Easter.” Heaven forbid! We wouldn’t want to be in Church on Friday morning AND Sunday morning JUST TWO DAYS later…. This is one of two Sundays every year I get a bit depressed because it seems, like the presents scatters around the house forgotten, people have scattered Jesus around unwanted and not needed. And so Joseph took the child and His mother and fled to Egypt….where have we sent Him?

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