Thursday, January 7, 2021

 

Thursday after Epiphany

ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS 

Genesis, Chapter 18, verse 14-16

14 Nothing is impossible for Yahweh. I shall come back to you at the same time next year and Sarah will have a son.' 15 Sarah said, 'I did not laugh,' lying because she was AFRAID. But he replied, 'Oh yes, you did laugh.' 16 From there the men set out and arrived within sight of Sodom, with Abraham accompanying them to speed them on their way. 

Nothing is impossible for he who is. According to Doctors Michael Roizen and Mehment Oz, Yahweh is nearly unpronounceable sounds that are made in our first and last breaths made in life. At the first deep inspire of air comes the sound YAH and at the last wheeze WEH. He is the alpha and the omega; the beginning and the end.[1]

 

When I was a youth of 20, I had the great honor of serving in the Navy Seabee’s and went to build the South Pole Station in Antarctica and breathing was difficult in the frozen thin air, here is an excerpt from my book, “The Ice is Nice and Chee-Chee is Peachy. 

Most of the Steelworkers and I were assigned to shoveling snow that had accumulated from the winter. As you worked, it was so ice-cold that frost formed on your beard, face and hair from the vapor of your very breath. Living there, I could really reflect on the statement: “God is closer to you than the very air you breathe”. Being there gave new meaning to that. Your breath was always with you; you could not escape it; even if you tried. Your breath almost caressed you as you went about your day. I thought, “Are we really loved that much?” and then I reflected on John 3:16 from the bible and it seemed to make more sense to me. 

It is interesting to note that when we laugh, we are forcing our breath out. Be Not Afraid.

 

Orthodox Christmas[2]

 

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. 

Religious Observance of Orthodox Christmas 

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.

Orthodox Christmas Top Events and Things to Do[3]

·         Attend an Orthodox Christmas service.  Orthodox Christianity is popular in Greek and Slavic-language communities, including Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Macedonian communities.

·         Go on a fast or diet leading up to Orthodox Christmas.  Try eliminating meat and animal foods from your diet.

·         Go for dinner at the Russian or Greek Restaurant.  Many will serve specials to commemorate this holiday.

Distaff Day[4], also called Roc Day, is 7 January, the day after the traditional feast of the Epiphany. It is also known as Saint Distaff's Day, one of the many unofficial holidays in Catholic nations. The distaff, or rock, used in spinning was the medieval symbol of women's work. In many European cultural traditions, women resumed their household work after the twelve days of Christmas. Women of all classes would spend their evenings spinning on the wheel. During the day, they would carry a drop spindle with them. Spinning was the only means of turning raw wool, cotton or flax into thread, which could then be woven into cloth. Men have their own way of celebrating this occasion; this is done through Plough Monday. It is the first Monday after Epiphany where men are supposed to get back to work. Every few years, Distaff Day and Plough Monday falls on the same day. Often the men and women would play pranks on each other during this celebration, as was written by Robert Herrick in his poem "Saint Distaff’s day, or the Morrow After Twelfth Day" which appears in his Hesperides.

St. Raymond of Penafort - Day Fourteen[5]

 

St. Raymond devoted much of his life to helping the poor. The famous incident which is recounted in the story of Raymond's life took place when he went with King James to Majorca. The King dismissed Raymond's request to return home. Relying on his faith and love of God, Raymond walked on the waves to his ship, spread his cloak to make a sail, made the sign of the cross then sailed to the distant harbor of Barcelona.

 

For St. Raymond's feast we should remember that "caroling and storytelling belong to the whole Christmas season. Hospitality and giving to others also must continue if true Christmas joy is to remain. An outing to which friends are invited or a party that includes a round of caroling become perhaps even more appropriate with the approach of Epiphany." — Excerpted from The Twelve Days of Christmas

 

·         Day Fourteen activity (Legend of the Little Girl)

·         Day Fourteen recipe (Christstollen)



Daily Devotions

·         do a personal eucharistic stations of the cross.

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary




[1] Roizen, Michael F.  & Oz, Mehmet C.  (2007) You Staying Young.  Simon & Schuster, Inc.

[5]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2020-01-07



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