Friday, January 7, 2011

Our Christmas Tree, in the trapeza. The tree is from our forest.
January 7, 2011 / December 25, 2010

33rd Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Sviatki. Fast-free
The Nativity according to the Flesh of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
From December 25 till January 5 is a Fast-free period (Sviatki).
The Adoration of the Magi: Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar. Commemoration of the shepherds in Bethlehem who were watching their flocks and came to see the Lord.
Massacre of Venerable Jonah and with him 50 monks and 65 laymen at St. Tryphon of Pechenega Monastery, by the Swedes (1590).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1930).

Quote for the Day:

Christ Is Born! Glorify Him!

Of the Ruling Archbishop of the Western American Diocese

We celebrate, each year at the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, a wonderful miracle by which our world, and all of history, has forever been changed. God has become man. The Creator has come amongst His creatures, taking the whole of our lives into His. We hear at Matins on the Feast: “creation is filled with mighty joy,” for the Lord “has overthrown the ancient curse.” Our merciful God has united Himself to the creation He fashioned, “becoming man,” in the words of St. Athanasius the Great, so that our sin might be overcome “and man might become God.”
But though our hearts stand in wonder at this miracle, though we look forward each year to singing the festal hymns and celebrating the Lord’s Nativity, we are confronted at the same time with the sorrowful brokenness of our world. This has been a year of great trials for many: the global economic downturn, record unemployment, hostilities and struggles in numerous parts of the world. It is especially when the season is one that proclaims rejoicing and comfort, that the harsh reality of the absence of joy, of the lack of comfort, is felt by some most poignantly. Among so many who are suffering, impoverished, lonely, sick and struggling, this season—and perhaps particularly so this year—brings with it challenging questions: “Where, in my life, is the joy promised by Christ’s birth? Have I somehow been forgotten in the miracle of this Feast?”

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called in this season to remember that the joy of the Nativity, the joy of our Orthodox faith, is not a worldly joy, and the comfort that it brings is “not of this world.” While society struggles with the very real challenges of financial, social and political hardship (to which we are called to respond with prayer, love and action), our loving Saviour comes directly to the heart of each person with the pronouncement that there is a joy beyond these struggles and a peace beyond such turmoil. Our joy is found in the fact that the real cause of all sorrow and pain, namely our sin, is conquered in Christ. Our peace is found in the coming of the Prince of Peace, whose birth in the flesh means that suffering and pain and death are all become transitory things; that beyond all these, out of all these, we are given glad tidings—the promise of life everlasting.

In this, there is true joy for all the earth. Our suffering and trials cannot separate us from the love of our man-befriending God. No power or force can keep us from the love which “bowed the heavens and came down.” And so, let us join all creation in being filled with a mighty joy this Nativity season. Let us bow our knees and lift up our hearts, that we may sing out in the words of the Nativity canon: “Christ is born, glorify Him! Christ is come from heaven, go to meet Him! Christ is on earth, be ye lifted up! Sing to the Lord, all the earth; sing out with gladness, all ye people. For He is glorified!” Amen.

Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America

Scripture Readings for the Day:

Galatians 4:4-7

4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Matthew 2:1-12
Wise Men from the East
 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
       6 ‘ But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
      Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
      For out of you shall come a Ruler
       Who will shepherd My people Israel.’

7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

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