When I look around me, the signs of this season do not point to such a great event. The images that I found with a google search are mainly about Santa Clause, reindeer, Elves, presents, decorated trees, office parties… Seems like the season is all about this world’s pleasures. Where is Christ? What kind of Christmas will WE make?
To tell the truth, it seems like most of us are asleep spiritually. We enjoy Christmas time with all its celebrations. But in the midst of these God is distant from us, we are unaware of our sinfulness, we rarely pray, only attend church periodically out of duty, and only periodically participate in the sacraments when we do come, and many have never been to confession. Maybe the secular Christmas celebration fits us. Are we making Christmas fit what we believe?
We all need to be awakened to the Truth!
What is Christmas all about? Are we celebrating the birth of a baby boy? No! We are celebrating the beginning of the way to our salvation. God becomes man, a human being who is also God! Christmas is about the Incarnation of our Lord, Savior, our Creator. God becomes man to show us our true potential created in His image and likeness. After His birth He lives with humility, heals, teaches and then is unjustly and voluntarily killed by Crucifixion, suffers, is beaten, humiliated, and hung naked nailed to the Cross. His life and death was to show us our path to paradise. After His death He is resurrected, defeating death with His death. He then Ascends into Heaven and is seated at right hand of God. After teaching His disciples the mysteries, He sends the Holy Spirit empowering them to establish ecclesias, gatherings of believers, communities where they can grow spiritually. This all begins with the event we call Christmas. We are celebrating our very entrance into the pathway of our salvation.
The festival approacheth, the most to be revered, the most awesome, and which we might justly term the centre of all festivals,—that of the birth and manifestation of Christ in the flesh.
Saint John Chrysostom
Let’s not be lulled to sleep with all the secular attachments that merchants have created to stimulate our shopping habits and desires. Our secular values have stripped the true meaning from all aspects of the activities of this season.
How was Christmas celebrated traditionally?
It began with a fast, an inner period of reflection, preparing ourselves to become more worthy to receive the King. It was only after the Christmas Day that we celebrated, exchanged gifts, visited friends and relatives. This is the 12 days of Christmas which are fast free and set aside for celebration of this great event. Before this awesome day we are preparing to receive God as man and then, after His birth, to glorify His coming for our salvation. The celebration ends with another important celebration, Epiphany, the baptism of Christ and the beginning of His ministry.