Americans love Christmas. For American Christians, Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year. And yet, in the ancient Eastern Christian tradition, Christmas is surpassed as a Feast by Theophany. Here is a hymn from the prefeast of Theophany (for January 2), which certainly touts Christmas as a great feast, but one which is surpassed by the events of Christ’s baptism.
The Feast which Passed is radiant,
But the one to come is brighter still!
There the angel proclaimed glad tidings,
But here, the Forerunner prepares the Savior’s Way!
There blood was spilled, as Bethlehem was made barren,
But here the life-giving water gives birth to many children.
There the star revealed You to the magi,
But here the Father proclaims You to the universe.
Incarnate Lord, coming to be made manifest, glory to You!