SAINT GEORGE ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH
كنيسة القديس جاورجيوس الأنطاكية الأرثوذكسية المسيحية
Father Joseph Rahal
December 23rd 2017
It is truly a wonderful time of the year. As we approach the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the question on many minds, especially children is: what kind of gift am I getting for Christmas? And adults agonize over what kind of gifts are we giving? In between these questions, often asked with a sigh, we hear exhaustion from families as they pace the malls looking for the perfect gift to give. Gift giving with the right meaning and attitude is wonderful, but this message is often lost in the obligation of holiday, forgetting the “real - reason for the season.”
The reality is still the same, Christmas has never changed. It is the birth of our Lord, and always will be. When we exchange gifts with one another, the gifts should be an expression of one’s own gratitude, to God first and then to our loved ones. As a husband, a wife, a parent, a child, you should ask yourself these questions: what shall I offer Christ? What can I offer the Lord for what He has done for us? For when we celebrate Christmas as the birth of our Savior, we receive a gift that lasts not only one day, but continues long after we discard the tree and put away the decorations—it will last a lifetime.
We have become too busy as families and as a community to think about these things, because we have all settled on our own meaning and are asking the wrong question: what is in it for me? If we continue to ask this question, we will be lonely, unhappy, and never content. Families must remind their children that when Christ was born He humbled Himself. As we read in the Gospel of St. Matthew, the Wise Men came from the East, to see the Child, Mary and Joseph. It was a barn, for animals, yet these kings entered and bowed down to worship the King of Kings, offering Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gift of gold was considered worthy of a King. Frankincense was once of great value throughout the Middle East and from Rome to India. Today, we call it incense and use it for worship. Myrrh was a fragrant plant resin that was used in anointing oil. The gospel recorded that myrrh was used at the burial of Jesus by Nicodemus. The Holy Church reminds us that in baptism, all of us are consecrated as kings, queens, priests, and prophets, and are anointed as such.
In the end, the burning question is: what will you offer God, in return for the birth of His Son, Jesus? We may not offer Him gold, frankincense or myrrh. But, as a Child of God, He desires that you offer Him your hearts, to wash them from sin, your ears to hear the angels sing, and your eyes to behold His wonderful mystery. God Bless you all and Merry Christmas!
May the light that shone upon that manger illuminate your lives now and forever.
In His Service
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