Christmas and Baptism

St Gregory of  Sinai says that all who are baptized into Christ share in His life.  He even gives a figurative view of how we who are baptized pass through all of the stages of Christ’s own life.

Everyone baptized into Christ should pass progressively through all the stages of Christ’s own life, for in baptism he receives the power so to progress, and through the commandments he can discover and learn how to accomplish such progression. To Christ’s conception corresponds the foretaste of the gift of the Holy Spirit, to His nativity the actual experience of joyousness,

to His baptism the cleansing force of the fire of the Spirit, to His transfiguration the contemplation of divine light, to His crucifixion the dying to all things, to His burial the indwelling of divine love in the heart, to His resurrection the soul’s life-quickening resurrection, and to His ascension divine ecstasy and I the transport of the intellect into God. He who fails to pass consciously through these stages is still callow in body and spirit, even though he may be regarded by all as mature and accomplished in the practice of virtue.  (THE PHILOKALIA, Kindle Location 42076-42085)

As we prepare ourselves for the celebration of the Nativity of our Savior, we can think about all the events surrounding the birth of Christ and what they might mean for how I live today.  How do I live the Nativity of Christ in my daily life?  How do I change my festal celebration from commemorating some ancient historical event into how I live, think, and act – Christ in me?  Not only do I have to keep Christ in Christmas or Christmas in Christ – perhaps more importantly I have to live so that Christ is in me.  I have to turn the events of the Gospel into my daily life.  Then indeed my entire life will be a life of prayer, and I will pray without ceasing.

Sentience is given to us not just so we feel sentimental about the events surrounding Christ’s birth and/or how we celebrate it, but so that we might perceive and experience that God is with, and within us, and in God we live, move and have our being.