Merry Christmas! Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
“In the beginning God made heaven and earth. The earth was invisible and unfinished; and darkness was over the deep. The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water. Then God said, ‘LET THERE BE LIGHT’ and there was light. And God divided the light from the darkness.” - Genesis 1:1-3
Christmas is a celebration! Over 2000 years ago, something miraculous happened. The long awaited messiah was born. This is a big deal! We’re talking about the Messiah, Christ - the Chosen One. He who was promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the world 2000 years before. Living after Christ’s birth we sometimes forget the actual importance of this event. The wait is over. The Christ Child, is born. Everyone that went before His Nativity was waiting for this exact moment “in sin and error pining” (as beautifully explained in the carol, O Holy Night). No other moment in time held such significance to the world since God said, “Let there be light” and placed us in the Garden. What is interesting is that today, we are about as far on the AD side of the timeline from Christ’s birth as Abraham was on the BC side. The difference for us is, that the waiting is over. All the evil things that are in this world hold no power over us.
You see, we all get tired and many of the things that are happening in the world today are sad and frustrating. People die everyday by what we call natural causes and also because of tragedies of violence and catastrophes of earth quakes and hurricanes, etc.
And we are constantly voting in new leaders that make some of us happy, but frustrate the rest. We look to leaders to do the good that we expect them to do. The divide on what they are supposed to do is getting bigger and bigger. Sometimes we get so drawn in and put too much hope into these leaders. And nearly every time they disappoint in some way or another.
What do we expect though? What do we want in a leader? We want someone who understands our struggles and yet rises above them. We want someone who brings peace and sets that example for us to follow. We want someone who will put the citizens of the nation before even himself. And we want a leader who would not be afraid to put his or her neck on the line for us, not just someone who sits behind some lofty desk and sends others to do his bidding. I’m not just talking about any politician. I’m talking about every leader we’ve had, has disappointed. All but one. The leader we, living in the AD, have always had. For God is Christ and He did those things when He entered into this world as a human baby. And He grew as we grow and felt our pains. He knows us, He knows our struggles. He preached peace in place of terror and brings peace to the hearts of those who believe. And instead of only sending prophets and saints, He lived and died for us. By this, the saints are able to follow His example. You and I are able to follow His example. This is Whom we’ve always wanted. And He is Whom we have. And as such, we can be assured that this perfect leader has conquered all the horrible things this world can bring.
Yeah, I’m tired and sad by some of the world events, but Christmas is a wondrous time. It gives us cause for us to lay rest to our worries and hurts. We have a sense of relief for a time. We celebrate, as we should, because Christ came and we feel is the thrill of hope, and the weary world rejoices!
The Word of the Father appears in the flesh! He enters into our tragedies and lifts us out of them. Let us come and adore him!
The Lord of all creation lies humbly in the manger. Our savior is here! Thank God!
At Christmas time, we celebrate the light entering into a world of darkness. He who, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him.” (John 1:1-3) That same word and God became flesh and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)
Today, “the Eagle has landed.” This is a big deal, but it should be noted that the mission of the Savior is completed on Pascha (Easter) which is why that is a greater celebration. But Light has come into the world. Just as it was said in Genesis 1:1 Christ Himself is that light that lit up the world and now it has come into the world! Today you have a choice to live in the light and have life. Because Christ is born!
The choice you make is how you glorify him in the life you live. The pagan three wise men followed a star because they searched out God and became some of the first believers of Christ. Let Christ live in you and be the star in other people’s lives, that lead people to Christ. At the same time, find that someone in your life who exemplifies Christ, and follow that star. Lift each other up and let’s journey to Christ and meet Him in heaven on earth together.
The beauty of this is while the eagle has landed, the mission has only just begun. And He stops at nothing until we are together with Him at the resurrection.
Merry Christmas! Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Why are there so many Nicks (and other variations)?! Why is St. Nicholas so well loved?!
Most people know that scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the non-Greek parents meet the Greek family. It might be the truest thing from the film. How many “Nicks” are there?
Even in my family, we have five people named “Nick Lionas,” not to mention my mom’s side and all the other Nicks who don’t have the same last name.
The Church is blessed with so many Saints with all kinds of different names, yet there are so many people connected to St. Nicholas and St. Nicholas churches around the country. Why? Who is this Saint that get so much playing time?
Some of us know his story, and some of us know him only as Santa Claus. For me, he’s so much more.
When I was a kid I was told that St. Nick helped some girls get married by secretly giving them money for their wedding, and that he was honest and told the truth at First Ecumenical Council. Yes. very sweet. Very jolly.
It wasn’t until I was in undergrad that I realized how watered down that version of history was. St. Nicholas didn’t just help out a family of daughters so that they could get married, he saved (at least) three women from a life of sex slavery. The sad reality of the situation was that if the father of these women could not provide a dowry, they would be forced to become prostitutes. St. Nicholas battled the sex trade by giving these women freedom. He also did it without desiring any sort of thanks in return.
St. Nicholas stood against things that were wrong and divisive. At the First Ecumenical Council there was a bishop named Arius who claimed that Christ Jesus, as the Son of God was not God as well, and that there was a time when He did not exist. This is false and heresy. However Arius forcefully made his point to the council. The passionate St. Nicholas put an end to the heresy when he slapped Arius across the face! As a result St. Nicholas was thrown in prison until the Theotokos and Christ appeared to him and the council and said that he was right. He served his penalty but was also proven to be right.
Now, I don’t advocate striking someone, but St. Nicholas was not a push-over and yet he was the kind and generous man who saved women from slavery. Let's be honest here, he didn't get to strike someone and get forgiven because he was known to do such things. He was a man of good character with a lot of credibility, not known to act in such a manner. You can't go picking fights and being a jerk and expect anyone to take you seriously when you make a real point. St. Nicholas made a point and it was taken seriously.
In that council St. Nicholas wasn't just standing up for what he thought was right as we often do. He was standing up for what the Church believed. Recently it has been an ongoing saying to, "Speak your truth." There is no "your truth." There is only THE TRUTH. We all have different perspectives, and that's good, but the truth is the truth. St. Nicholas wasn't just getting on a soap box to tell people what he believed he was standing up for what the Church believed.
Don't get caught up in silly arguments or fight people over what ONLY YOU think is true. Test your thoughts against what we know is good and true. Test it agains millennia of what the Church has called true.
St. Nicholas is also continuously working miracles for people today. He is bold and passionate for what is right and true, and yet humble and loving in profound ways. He is the total package. So do I want a saint like that interceding on my behalf to God for my salvation? Heck yes. I do.
St. Nicholas is the real deal.