Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold a
virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call
his name Immanuel, which translated is,
God with us (Is 7:14-15)
The Nativity according to the flesh of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ, also
called Christmas, is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated
on December 25.
In the fullness of time our Lord Jesus Christ was born to the Holy Theotokos and ever Virgin
Mary, thus entering into
the world as a man and
revealing Himself to
According to
the Bible and to Holy
Tradition, Jesus was
born in the city of
Bethlehem in a cave,
surrounded by farm
animals and shepherds.
The baby Jesus was born
into a manger from
the Virgin Mary, assisted
by her husband
St. Joseph. St. Joseph and the Theotokos were forced to travel due to a Roman census; the odd location of the birth was the result of the refusal of a nearby inn to accommodate the expecting couple (Luke 2:1-20). It is known historically that dwellings were built directly over such caves housing livestock in order to make use of the heat.
Though three magi from the East are commonly depicted as visiting during the event itself
(or, in Roman Catholic tradition, twelve days thereafter), the Bible records the coming of an
unspecified number of wise men as being a few years after Jesus' birth (see Matthew 2). In
either case, these magi came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt 2:11). In
the hymnography for the feast, these gifts are interpreted to signify Christ's royalty,
divinity, and suffering.
Though Jesus' birth is celebrated on December 25, most scholars agree that it is unlikely he
was actually born on this date. The choice of December 25 for the Church's celebration of
the Nativity is most
likely to have been in
order to counter
attendance at pagan
solstice festivals
falling on the same
At least, this is the
urban myth
promulgated by both
heterodox Christians
and unbelievers for
However, the
solstice festival fell
on the 21st of
December. To suggest that the Church chose a day of sacred observance defensively instead of pro-actively is to devalue and disregard the sacred and authoritative action of the Church in establishing a proper
date for the observance of The Nativity of Christ the Lord.
Others within The Orthodox Church have observed that, under Hebrew law, male infants
were both circumcised and received their name eight days after their birth.
Also, within The Orthodox Church, January 1st is celebrated as the "name day" of The Lord
Christ Jesus. Thus, the selection of December 25th to celebrate the nativity of The Christ
(who would not be named for eight more days) would appear to have been a conscious
counting backward from the first day of the calendar year--the day of his being proclaimed
Son of Man--to the date of His birth, the day of his being proclaimed Son of God.