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Light In The Darkness

December 17, 2010

“Orthodoxy is Paradoxy”

I have heard this phrase many times in the course of my very short catechumenate, but one I think is very appropriate given the season we are in right now. (Granted, the paradox of THIS season is limited to the Northern Hemisphere, but you know what I mean.) I was looking out my window yesterday, looking at the leaves fall from the trees and on to the lawn, sidewalk and street. Seeing the trees looking more bare each day, the paradox of this season suddenly hit me. How had I not seen this before?

While the days are getting shorter, colder and darker, while the landscape has the appearance of death, we await the Incarnation of the Creator of all things. The very Life in whom we live and breath and have our being comes into the world that seems dead. Indeed, because of the fall of Man, the world is dying. And yet this is what makes the Incarnation so amazing. Because it is tied to the Resurrection, the Incarnation of the Word through the Holy Spirit and the Theotokos is considered by some of the Church Fathers and Saints to be the Re-creating of all things. The Second Coming will be the culmination of all these things, but they were started at the first Nativity 2000 years ago.

The other paradox that hit me as I thought about the Nativity Fast. The Winter season seems more conducive to a sense of deep repentance, mourning, etc than Spring, yet the Fast is less intense, and there is no mournful element to the Nativity season. Spring, the time of renewal and joy, is the time when Orthodox are in the deepest repentance, fast the most intense and mourn deeply (even though it is in the light of victory) leading up to the glorious Resurrection. What a paradox.

This is the great thing about the Church and the Life in Christ in general; She does not simply follow the natural flow the world, but is truly a paradox. Our martyrs would appear to be “of all men most miserable”, but have a joy that is unquenchable. We have more “rules” than almost any other Christian denomination, yet we are free beyond description.

There is just over a week left in the Nativity Fast. So far this fast has been much less daunting than Lent, yet the sense of anticipation is just as high. This is will be my first Forefestal Week. I look very much forward to the services. I especially look forward to being at the Vigil Service with my family. I have always loved the beauty of this time of year for the natural beauty around my, but now that I am preparing to join the Church, I love the discovery of the light in the darkness.

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