Christmas Giving: Giving to Christ

“‘Therefore at his birth we kept festival, both I the leader of the feast, and you, and all that is in the world and above the world. With the star we ran, and with the magi we worshiped, and with the shepards we were surrounded by light, and with the angels we gave glory.’ (Oration 39.14). At Christmas he invited the faithful to join the magi, shepherds, and angels in a common act of worship celebrating the birth of God incarnate: ‘Run after the star, and bring gifts with the magi, gold and frankincense and myrrh, as to a king and a God and one dead for your sake. With the shepherds give glory, with the angels sing hymns, with the archangels dance. Let there be a common celebration of the heavenly and earthly powers.’ (Oration 38.17)” (Saint Gregory of Nazianzus in Festal Orations, pg. 28)

Celebrating Christmas

This is our present Festival; it is this which we are celebrating, the Coming of God to Man, that we might go forth, or rather (for this is the more proper expression) that we might go back to God –  that putting off the old man, we might put on the New; and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ, being born with Christ and crucified with Him and buried with Him and rising with Him. For where sin abounded grace did much more abound; and if a taste condemned us, how much more does the Passion of Christ justify us? Therefore let us keep  the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival, but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world, but in a fashion above the world; not as our own, but as belonging to Him Who is ours, or rather as our Master’s; not as of weakness, but as of healing; not as of creation, but of re-creation.  (St. Gregory Nazianzos in “On The Birthday of Christ”, O Logos Publishing, pg. 3)