Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Day Is It?

In just under an hour (in my time zone) we will enter a new year. This is a big deal according to the attention given Times Square (and other places). Closer to my home, Hershey (PA) drops a "kiss." Dillsburg (also PA) has a pickle. You get the idea. According to our culture, New Year's Day is the big holiday for this week. It's the book-end to this "holiday season."

In the Church Year it is still Christmas, a day that is so important that it takes eight days (Octave) to give it proper due. And tomorrow is not so much New Year's Day as the celebration of Mary as Theotokos – the "God-bearer." This is one way the Church exalts and gives explicit witness to the truth that Jesus Christ is fully Man and fully God. Mary gave birth to the God who entered our world to be with us. Jesus came as God because He had always been God: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jesus came as Man because He was born of a human woman – the Theotokos – chosen to bear "very God of very God, one in being with the Father."

Time is, in one sense, quite artificial. It will not endure. Another year is.... another year in which we wait for the consummation of all God has promised. It is okay to celebrate another year and to pray for God's blessings in coming days. But the basis for trusting in such a thing is the real meaning of Christmas – that God came into our world to save us, born of a woman.

So yet again, while "the world" says "Happy New Year," I join the Church in saying one more time: Merry Christmas!

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