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PEACE AND HARMONY
Parish priest Reverend Dr. Doru Costache
The Christless Xmas vs. Christmas
by Reverend Dr. Doru Costache
They say we need to let us be simply absorbed by ‘the spirit of Christmas’ … I wonder what that may mean. Some say it’s about a family feast, yet I know of many family feasts which don’t really have a name. Others say it’s a moment when one goes out to meet with their friends, yet again I know of many such opportunities without them deserving a name. Others again say it’s about letting us be absorbed by the exuberant spirit of celebrating no-matter-what, where from the offensive anagram Xmas. Finally, others say it’s about shopping! The Grinch undoubtedly exults … For Christians, however, it is never a purely human event at the core of Christmas and it’s never Xmas. Christians know that it is not just their ephemeral joy at stake, nor another reason to eat, drink and ‘have fun’ no matter with whom and in what circumstances. They know that this is our Lord’s birthday, Christ’s feast, whose meaning and significance go far beyond ‘having fun’ with family, friends or no-matter-whom-else. To them, Christmas is the opportune moment of renewing our commitment to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, a renewal which takes first the pain of ‘dealing with’ the fasting period and then to let us be absorbed by the liturgical rhythm of the festal celebration. Christmas is also, and consequently, a season of remembrance of who we are and are called to become, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Everything else comes after. It is a matter of fact that all our existential failures reside ultimately in our inability and unwillingness to acknowledge God and his mercy which was bestowed upon us through the incarnation of the Son of God. In and through the ritual we learn to uplift our hearts from everything in order to acknowledge how everything is a gift coming from above; in and through the ritual we learn to give thanks to our life-giving Lord; in and through the ritual we learn to embrace all with divine love and compassion, since there we learn and manifest the fact that we are sons and daughters of the same God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The secular, Christless, Xmas cannot last. The mystery of Christmas brings to the receptive souls the ineffaceable joy of renewal as sons and daughters of God, by the presence of Christ’s Holy Spirit, the one who enables us to call God ‘Father’. What is it that we celebrate?
NEWS FROM THE ROMANIAN PATRIARCHATE
His Beatitude Daniel became the sixth Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church. We wish His Beatitude a long and fruitful arch-pastoral service. The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church has decided the establishment of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and the New Zealand
anul XXXII December 2007