The Fiery Furnace of Christmas

The three youths, wise in God, who shone with joy in the furnace, proclaimed the birth of Christ on earth; For just as the Lord sent down a precious dew, He preserved from the flame her who gave birth; He keeps her undefiled and enriches her with divine gifts. Therefore Daniel, pleasing to God, rejoiced and was glad, For having foreseen the stone from the unquarried mountain, he now prays in boldness…

Waking Up

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). This fear descends on us from on High. It is a spiritual feeling, firstly of God and then of us ourselves. We live in a state of awe by virtue of the presence of the Living God together with awareness of our own impurity. This fear places us before the Face of God to be judged by Him. We have…

Journey into the Winter Pascha

This morning, following the rubrics of the Church, we did the service of the Royal Hours, which include readings from Old Testament and Epistle and Gospel for each of the services of the Hours (1st, 3rd, 6th, and 9th). Also much incense. It is a service that in structure will be repeated again before the Theophany as well as during Holy Week before Pascha. It signals that each of these services have…

The Smallness of God and Anglican Struggles

Whom have we, Lord, like you – The Great One who became small, the Wakeful who slept, The Pure One who was baptized, the Living One who died, The King who abased himself to ensure honor for all. Blessed is your honor! St. Ephrem the Syrian We draw near to the Feast of our Lord’s Nativity, and I cannot fathom the smallness of God. Things in my life loom so large and…

The Priests’ Priest

Today, December 20, is the feast day of St. John of Kronstadt, a modern (early 20th century) Russian priest who is admired by many priests in the Church today. His own asceticism (fasting, etc.) was well beyond what is normally seen in parish priests. He had numerous gifts of the Spirit: prophesying, healing, etc. There were even some unusual liturgical practices associated with his ministry (for that time), such as doing group…

A Word from Romania on our Happiness

Father Piciorus Dorin Octavian, who writes the Blog Teologia Pentru Azi (see the Blogroll), posted the following article (in English, thank you). It is about our happiness. When you have a good heart you begin to see God in yourself. Our happiness is our conscience, is a good intention towards God. For a good conscience you need to reconcile with God and with your heart. The celebration of God’s Nativity is a moment…

The Ancestors of Christ

Prepare yourself, O Ephratha! The Lamb is on her way to give birth to the Chief Shepherd she carries in her womb. The God-bearing forefathers will rejoice, beholding Him, and with the shepherds, they will glorify the Virgin nursing Him. Kontakion of the Sunday before the Nativity Part of being a modern man is having relatively few ancestors. At a certain stage in life, it seems, we get interested in geneology (or…

The Christmas Tree

This is my last comment on Christmas trees this year. Having just drug the 31st tree of my married life into the house and placed it in its stand (involving a drill and not a little work) I believe that whatever the origin of the Christmas tree, it was a curse placed on us by earlier pagans. I will continue to put up trees, but will remember the years of difficulty –…

Giving Offense in the Time of Peace and Goodwill

I have (undeserved or not) a general reputation as a kind priest, and merciful, and hope that my postings on this blog will maintain that reputation. God help me if I don’t. It interests me, that making comments about paganism drew not only an unusual number of views for the weekend (that tells me that lots of pagans use the internet). I also found that the simple title “Mother of God” draws…

The Mother of God

One aspect of Christmas (including Protestant Christmas) that I always enjoyed was the increasing attention given to the Mother of Jesus. Christmas cards feature her; hymns of “Mary, meek and mild” are sung. And even though such popular treatments will fall far short of the theological fullness of the one who gave birth to God the Word, it has always, nevertheless, been comforting to hear her get at least some public mention.…