Last night in Choir we sang some traditional Orthodox Christmas Hymns along with the more typical Western hymns. Since I’m in the choir, I had to pay more attention to the words. The one that I really liked was this one that revealed the awesome presence of God in the plain setting of the Christmas Event:
“I behold a strange but very glorious mystery: Heaven — the cave;
The throne of the Cherubim — the Virgin.
The manger — the receptacle in which Christ our God,
Whom nothing can contain, is lying”.
Other than that, it has been a quiet Christmas day. My wife grew up a devout Catholic immigrant and she and I have been working to preserve “peasant traditions” (as she calls them) of a humble Christmas. Our Christmas remains (largely because of her efforts) a religious holy-day. In that vein, I am amused by the “War on Christmas” folks. While ranting about people’s season greetings, they continue to participate heavily in the consumer aspects of how Christmas is celebrated in the States. Which is not to say that I am offended by any of this: people are welcome to celebrate their holidays however they wish. God knows (and those who have even a passing acquaintance with me know) that I’ve had and will have my share of rants. I’m just a little bemused that people are offended that other people want to celebrate at the same time they do without sharing their faith. There is some special irony in the hoopla over the greetings. After all, is there any special religiosity in the phrase “Merry Christmas” (which we hear often enough here in the States from the Coca-Cola Santa) versus the Orthodox Christian greetings of “Christ is Born! Glorify Him!”