Despite the fact that in the Russian Orthodox Church Christmas is celebrated on January 7, according to the modern (Gregorian) calendar, I thought I’d post this Christmas meditation today. It’s a translation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”:
The scripture is: “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will among men” (Luke:2,7)
"Christmas has an important place in the life of the whole world. This great day is celebrated throughout the world wherever the name of Christ is proclaimed, and every year, with every repetition of this celebration, it brings a fresh outflowing of love and light. Every year, in every house, in every family, preparations for this day take place. Children happily look forward to it with impatient expectation, parents lovingly think of the pleasure awaiting the children, and thoughts of the Christmas tree fill everyone’s heart. But we should not forget that Christmas is first of all a holy day of God which we honor in remembering the boundless Love which did not spare His Son in order to save mankind. And so, in order to celebrate this day in a worthy manner, one must be filled with reverence for the pure Infant Jesus. In celebrating Christmas let us pray that the spirit of His love be awakened and reborn in our hearts and that a manger be found there to receive Him, and precious gifts ready to be given to Him. The meaning of Christmas is love, peace and good will, and good will means forgiveness and a desire for everyone’s good. It is complete abandonment of self-interest, and love which envelops all mankind.
“Let us all strive for the true celebration of Christmas. Then, in our time, we will again see the divine miracle – Christ will again come to earth, because His Spirit will dwell in each of us, and the songs of the angels will constantly fill our souls with boundless joy.”
I think Lewis would have agreed with the above sentiment. Christmas was a trying time for him because of all the mail he would get from people he probably did not know, but which he felt obliged to answer. This, of course, is a great shame. For me, an antidote is to think about what Lewis says about Christmas in the first and last of the Narnian Chronicles. In the first, of course, it is “always winter, but never Christmas” until Aslan arrives, and then Father Christmas appears. In the last (“The Last Battle”), Queen Lucy says in chapter 13: “In our world…a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”
And, of course, Lewis devotes a whole chapter to the Grand Miracle (of the Incarnation) in his book, “Miracles”.
I wish everyone a joyful celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord, even in the midst of all the wars going on, remembering Our Lord’s words at the Last Supper: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)