Kala Chrystouyenna! Christ is Born! Glorify Him! The celebration of the Birth of Christ is known by most of us to be attached to December 25. Why, then, am I wishing everyone a Blessed Christmas on January 7th? Good question, to which there is a very simple answer. Today, January 7th, 2011 is December 25th, 2010. This discrepency exists because of a difference in calendars.
The calendar followed by the majority of the Western world is known as the Gregorian Calendar, which replaced the Julian Calendar as the "official" calendar used by all people of the West. The Julian Calendar ultimately had its dates fixed at 13 days later than the Gregorian Calendar. It is the Julian Calendar which many in the Eastern Christian world still use. Therefore, today is December 25th.
For me, as a member of an Eastern Christian Diocese in which some follow the Gregorian Calendar, and some follow the Julian Calendar, it is a unique opportunity to reflect on the Incarnation of God as a human baby about 2000 years ago after the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, and the rampant materialism associated with it in Western society has already concluded. My own parish has a handful of people from the Ukraine who still celebrate Christmas according to this tradition.
So, now that the secular holiday is past, and today, Christmas is celebrated by some in my own Church, what lesson might one glean from this celebration? For me, it is that, quite separately from all the holiday glitz, the stories of Santa Claus, and flying reindeer, as well as Frosty the Snowman, all of which I do enjoy, it is a day that I am remineded that it is worth taking a second look at the reason we celebrate Christmas: Jesus Christ, the Newborn, and Reigning, Resurrected King and Lover of Mankind.
The all powerful, all knowing, and all loving God, knowing that we, human beings, were destined by our own sightless probing beyond the depths of our own woundedness, as a dog biting at a scab on its leg, to die of an infection which would leave us suffering for all eternity, came to Earth to embrace the depth of our own desperateness, and give us a transfusion of His very life to lead us to a life of Eternal Happiness. This is worth more than a second look, but today's Julian Calendar celebration of Christmas is a reminder that a serious consideration of what God has done for us begins, at the very least, with a second look.