Thursday, December 26, 2013

On the Second Day of Christmas

The Church has a wonderful tradition of celebrating “main characters” of Feasts the day after major feast days. The day after Christmas, the Church celebrates the Theotokos. We shouldn’t look at this chance as a way to recognize “those left out” in the shuffle, since we NEVER consider the Panagia as one who has been left out of any celebration. In fact the Church insists on linking her to Christ as a way to keep the focus on Him.

It seems to me a popular trend, albeit not a healthy trend is to consider our friends and relatives on their feast days sometimes to the exclusion of the saint. For example, on the Feast of Saint George, many will call their brothers, cousins, and friends, but won’t go to Church to thank God for the Saint the Church actually is honoring that day.

So, how many Christians do you think “celebrated” Christmas without actually going to Church to thank Him? Maybe you are one of them.  If you ask me, Christmas without Church is just another day with dinner and presents. Of course, I understand some people in positions like police, firefighters, hospitals, etc., are sometimes unable to attend Church for Christmas. I’m not thinking about those who are UNABLE to attend Church.

I suppose our secular society has commandeered the celebration of Christmas. We are told by so-called celebrities that Christmas is about families putting aside their differences and coming together. Christmas includes giving gifts, decorating homes, listening to Christmas carols, and even having a HUGE feast with family and friends. But where does the Church – you know the place where God actually dwells on Earth – fit into our celebration? I know of several families who “couldn’t come to Church” because their families were visiting from out of town. If you ask me, that isn’t Christmas without Church!

Living a new life in Christ includes having Christ in your life. It includes attending Church to thank God for blessings He has given you, whether you recognize those blessing or not. It includes honoring those who have lived their lives dedicated to Him and His Church. It includes dinner with family and friends, giving gifts, decorating your house, listening to Christmas carols, but it ALSO includes singing Christian hymns, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, Holy Confession, attending Divine Liturgy and the other Church services.

Which Christmas did YOU celebrate?

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