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December 27, 2010
Nativity and adoration of the Magi

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Have you had “one of those Christmases”? I don’t mean death in the family, flooded home, Major snow storm causing havoc. I’m talking about that sense of being completely out of spiritual sync with Nativity of our Lord. I had that kind of Christmas. Even so, it taught me something valuable.

I had intended to go to a few of the Pre-festal Vespers services this last week, maybe even one early-morning Orthros. I was personally and spiritually lazy and only made it to one Vespers.

On Christmas Eve I had a family gathering to attend. It was an enjoyable day with the family, but it was a long day. My plan was to have my two older girls nap in the car on the way home, so we could go to the mid-night Vigil Liturgy.

However, when we got home, they were too tired to go. When I went to wake them up, they were still sound asleep. I was really disappointed, because I wanted to be able to have my kids experience worship on Christmas Day. Since we never went to Church on Christmas when I was a Protestant (unless by default), I wanted to break that cycle and make worship the center of our Christmas experience, rather than just presents and family time. Mind you, I wasn’t disappointed in my girls (they’re just kids and had a long day) but with the circumstances. To top it off, I had a lively discussion that was complete unnecessary for my to have had, lost my keys, then my cool. I had to apologize to my wife for letting the key thing stress my out. On the drive to Church I felt inner defeat. I was tired after the long day, I was irritated with myself for acting like a jerk over stupid stuff and was already thinking ahead at the fact that I would only get a few hours sleep after the vigil, since I was going in to work that morning at 7am.

I pulled into the Church parking lot and took a deep breath before I went in. Everyone was there already, as Orthros began at 10:30, and I was getting there at 11:30. As the service progressed, and the Nativity hymns were sung, things started to get into perspective. Christ came into a messed up world, born of the Virgin. Though He came to transform it by taking the form of a servant, it was not instantly changed, nor even immediately following his death and resurrection, though His disciples thought it should. But come He did, that He might commune with His creation and redeem it. He came to take on Himself all the messiness of my life too; my failings of the day, the year, my entire life. He communes with me, and calls me to follow Him. It is a communion that does not change me instantly, but over time. So I can take comfort in the Incarnation of the one who enters into my messed up life.

The next day I was back at the firehouse and purposed to pray the Typika on Sunday morning, as I would not be able to go to Divine Liturgy on the Lord’s Day. I found the Kontakion for the day online and prayed in at the proper time in the service. The prayer goes as follows:

Kontakion of the Nativity – Tone 3: “Today the Virgin giveth birth to the Transcendent in essence; the earth offereth the cave to the unapproachable One; the angels with the shepherds glorify him; and the Magi with the star travel on their way; for a new child hath been born for our sakes, God before the ages”.

These words were and are a comfort to me and the meaning of them hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to read it a few times over. I realized that though I offer Him the lowly cave of my life, which isn’t worthy of the least of His saints, let alone the Transcendent God of all the ages, yet for my sake He was born. Our God before all ages. Now matter how low I feel, He meets me there because He has already taken on all my infirmities, sins and weaknesses. Amen!

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