Friday, December 25, 2015

SO Much More than Happy Birthday Jesus

Christ is Born; Glorify Him!
I awoke this morning to see the same limp, uninspired, secular Christmas wishes on social media. My least favorite was “Happy Birthday Jesus,” as if Christmas is just another day to send birthday wishes because a Facebook reminder popped up and told you that today was Jesus birthday. I’m actually surprised that Facebook hasn’t found a way to further cheapen the greatest of Christmas. But today’s blog post isn’t about Facebook. There would be just too much to write. Today’s post is about the painful truth that more than half of Americans consider Christmas as nothing more than a cultural experience. There is not religious significance to the day for HALF of our country, even for those who “openly celebrate” Christmas. I suspect that if you consider how many people are actual members of your Church, and you compared that to the number of faithful in Church for Christmas, you will find the same ratio true in your community.

But today is SO MUCH more than happy birthday Jesus. The Magi knew this to be true. Although they were astrologers, God had told them through the star that the birth of Jesus was different. The Magi knew that lying in the manger that moment in a cave was the King Who was God, born to die. The gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh were not random gifts for “just some baby” but to declare their total acceptance of a new life made possible only because of the birth of God. The God-King born to die, makes possible that we no longer have to be anxious about the worldly things.

This is the essence of our Orthodox Christian greeting for Christmas – Christ is Born; Glorify Him! We greet each other in the manner as we do during Pascha to express the amazing change in the world that His birth has brought into being. This new reality is what gives us the freedom FROM anxiety of all the worldly struggles. Do you struggle with finances? Christ is Born, and you no longer have to look at finances as a source of anxiety. Do you struggle with health issues? Christ is born, and you no longer have to look at your health as a source of anxiety. It is SO much more than Happy Birthday Jesus!

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