Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ

Today in the Orthodox Church we celebrate the circumcision of Christ, and his naming in the Temple. It's the eighth day.

That's one thing I like about Orthodoxy: Our liturgical calendar is full and consistent.

I've read various blog posts by various writers this season who are against Christmas, for instance, stating that it's a pagan holiday or that the Bible nowhere states that Jesus was born on December 25th, therefore we have no business commemorating it on this day, etc.

Well, the Orthodox Church has no problem doing so, and neither do I. Neither do we forget Christ's cirucumcision eight days after we celebrate his birth, nor the Annunciation precisely nine months before His birth, on March 25th.

The date of Christmas is tied to the date of the Annunication, which is tied to when the Theotokos visited St. Elizabeth, which is tied to when the birth of St. John the Forerunner is celebrated according to tradition, etc. All of these dates are internally consistent within the liturgical calendar.

And the point of the liturgical calendar is to proclaim in time the message of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: His incarnation, his suffering, his death and resurrection, the descent of the Holy Spirit...all of it. It's a package deal and a seamless garment, so to speak.

So was Jesus really born on December 25th? Perhaps or perhaps not. Does it really matter? I think what really matters is that we remember His incarnation and all that it entails-including the circumcision, the Annunication, the visitation of St. Elizabeth by the Virgin Mary, etc.. If keeping a day Holy for this purpose helps us feeble Christians to do that, then it's a good thing, especially when we also remember (in a consistent manner) the other events in Christ's life that are linked to His birth, or his death and resurrection, etc.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Glorious Feast Day! And Happy Civil New Year.


Debby said...

Wow, you are so knowledgable! My family and I were baptised 2 yrs ago, I am still learing all there is to know about The Orthodox Religion. I just know I am going to learn so much from your bloggs!

gemma said...

Good answer to those who would shake their fists at traditions and foundations.