In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen. Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
As we are all trying to recover from our attempts at finding that "perfect" gift, from wading through the crowds at the malls, or developing a chronic case of carpal tunnel syndrome from frantically surfing the web and racking up our own version of the national debt, I am reminded of a Thanksgiving. Day a few years ago: Thanksgiving, that halcyon day when the sales begin and Christmas seems so far away. Sales and
He sent an e-mail to me about coming home from visiting family. It said,
“Thanksgiving weekend on my way home to
I had a remarkable dream on a stopover. I think it relates well to the craziness surrounding the Christmas season that begins right after Thanksgiving. I dreamed that I was in a small town in the frozen north. There was a large group of people gathering together around an old Victorian house. It was a beautiful house, the air was crisp with the cold, the sky bright, snow lay on the ground like a blanket....you know, all the clichés. But there was something odd, a sense of strangeness.... I noticed that everyone was carrying large bundles of objects or dragging wagons laden with goods...furniture, books, art, and so on. I was carrying my old comic book collection which I no longer paid much attention to, but had cherished growing up, and if you asked me I’d say it still held some nostalgic value. We all silently entered the house and began to stack our things all over the building in every spare bit of space. Before we put them down, however, each item was dipped into a large bucket of some mysterious chemical solution.
My curiosity got the better of me and I began to look around at what other people had given up. I began to understand the allure of the garage sale. These people were getting rid of precious things....well, I thought they were precious. Obviously others did too. I noticed that I was not alone in my admiration of other people's cast offs. We all began to covet each other's goods. I was amazed that someone would get rid of a first edition Mark Twain....someone was amazed that I was getting rid of that Spider Man comic. We began to greedily grab at the items neatly stacked around us.
The first thing we noticed was that the walls of the house were made of sheets of paper that had been dipped in the strange chemical and then slapped up onto the frame. It did not take us long to reduce the house to dust. It was then that we noticed that the only thing left to us....was us. There we were formed into a circle as we had demolished the house...and there we still were in a circle now facing each other over the empty lot where the house had been.
I finished reading my friend’s story and I smiled to myself. I could not help but to think of the great gift that God had given us. He gave us ourselves back to us. That which had been broken in
What did we, and all His creation, give to Christ on that first Christmas? In the Vespers of the Nativity, we find out:
What shall we offer Thee, O Christ, who for our sakes hast appeared on earth as man? Every creature made by Thee offers Thee thanks. The angels offer Thee a hymn; the heavens a star; the Magi gifts; the shepherds their wonder; the earth its cave; the wilderness, the manger: and we offer Thee a Virgin Mother. O pre-eternal God, have mercy on us.
Let us add to this gift to Christ this year and give Him our love and ourselves. How do we give it to Him? By loving our neighbor....
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
2008 Fr. Philip Kontos