Today, the Christian Church joyfully commemorates the Birth of Jesus Christ, marking the start of the Christmas octave. This period, beginning with Advent, is a time of deep longing for the arrival of the Savior. The culmination of this anticipation is the celebration of Christ’s birth, a moment of unbridled joy for believers. The Gospel of Luke vividly recounts this sacred event, describing the birth of Jesus in a humble manger, heralded by angels and celebrated as the fulfillment of ancient prophecies.
The narrative of Luke 2:11-14 serves as a central part of this celebration, where the angels announce to the shepherds: ‘For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”‘
Christmas, a festival brimming with joy, marks the incarnation of the Eternal Word as Man. It’s a fulfillment of the hopes of patriarchs and prophets. Like the shepherds, believers are drawn to the manger to worship the Son of God, who descended to earth for humanity’s salvation.
The season of Christmas begins on December 24 with the first Vespers of the feast and concludes with the Feast of the Baptism of Christ. Churches don white vestments as a symbol of joy, celebrating the divine life brought to humanity through Christ’s birth. This period is a time to reflect on the profound mystery of the Word made flesh and to embrace the unseen through faith. The Preface of the Nativity eloquently summarizes the essence of this feast: ‘For by the mystery of the Word made flesh the light of Thy glory hath shone anew upon the eyes of our mind; so that while we acknowledge Him a God seen by men, we may be drawn by Him to the love of things unseen.’
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