Ember Saturday AUTUMNAL EQUINOX 1 Corinthians, Chapter 14, Verse 32-33 32 Indeed, the spirits of prophets are under the prop...
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Thursday, January 7, 2016 Orthodox Christmas
Sirach, Chapter 4, Verse 17-18
17 “I will walk with them in disguise, and at first I will test them with trials. Fear and dread I will bring upon them and I will discipline them with my constraints. When their hearts are fully with me, 18 then I will set them again on the straight path and reveal my secrets to them.
Ask our Lord to reveal to your soul, His secrets on how to be fully alive to His spirit.
“The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to captives.” (Lk. 4:18)
Chassidic philosophy demonstrates three ways in which the body and soul can interact:
· The soul can try and mitigate the urges of the body. Things that look good, taste good and feel good are stimulating and addictive. Most of us live life with our body in the driver’s seat. The soul just can’t compete. And so the soul tries to negotiate reasonably, and encourages moderation.
· Or, the soul can choose to reject the body and abhor anything associated with materialism. The soul-driven person would then rebel against society’s shallow and false veneers. Simplicity and ascetism become the ultimate goals of the soul.
· The third scenario is not a compromise between the first two. It is an entirely new approach, where the body and soul learn to work together. The soul neither leans towards the body nor rejects it. It does not react; it pro-acts. In a proactive position, the soul directs and channels the body’s inclination in a constructive way.
In this last approach, instead of repressing the body’s needs, the soul views them as an opportunity to serve God in a whole new way. 
Well if you have not got enough of the Christmas Season you can always celebrate with the Orthodox Catholics.
Some Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25th, but others mark the birth of Jesus on a variety of dates including January 7th and January 19th. It depends on which calendar the particular church follows - while western Christendom has adopted the Gregorian calendar, some Orthodox churches use the older Julian calendar to calculate the dates for holy feast days. December 25th on the original Julian calendar falls on January 7th of our calendar.
Most Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on this date, however some churches, including Armenian orthodox Christians use the revised Julian calendar and their Christmas falls on January 19th of our calendar.
While Christmas is a very important religious celebration for Orthodox Christians, it falls second to Easter which they consider to be the most important date in the religious calendar.
Most believers in the Eastern Orthodox Church prepare for Christmas with 40 days of fasting, continuing right up until late on Christmas Eve Jan 6th.
· Traditionally, when the first star appears on Christmas Eve Eastern Orthodox Christians will break their fast with a celebratory meal.
· Also on Christmas Eve, traditionally Orthodox Christians will cut a branch from a tree and bring it into their home, as a symbol that Jesus is entering their house and their hearts.
· A prayer and blessing will be said before the Christmas Eve feast begins, and the head of the family will greet each person present with the traditional Christmas greeting of 'Christ is born' to which the response is 'Glorify him!'. Then the bread will be torn by hand and shared with all present. Some families will have straw scattered around the table, as a reminder of Jesus's birth in the manger.
· On Christmas Day, Orthodox Christians will attend Divine Liturgy, which will usually be a little longer than usual due to being an exceptional religious holiday. It is traditional to light candles in honor of Jesus, as light of the world.
· Afterwards people walk in procession to a sea, lake or river. The water will be blessed as part of an outdoor ceremony, and some people will take the blessed water back to their homes.
Pray for the conversion of Russia!
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