Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve
December 24, 2011

The Lord be with you

The exact date of the birth of Jesus is not known, and during the earliest centuries of the Church it seemed to have little significance. This followed the Early Church’s tradition of honoring and celebrating a Christian’s death as his or her birth date into eternity and the ongoing presence of Jesus. Likewise the life, work, death, and resurrection of Christ was of much greater importance to early Christians than the earthly details of His birth. The earliest nativity feast, Epiphany (January 6), celebrated both the birth and the Baptism of Christ. However, in the fourth century great Christological controversies that questioned Christ’s divinity and humanity raced throughout Christianity. By 336 AD, December 25 had been established in Rome as the celebration of Christ’s birth, a festival welcomed particularly by orthodox Christians in the West. The date was chosen because it was believed great prophets died on the day they were conceived, so the date was calculated from the first Good Friday. From Rome, Christ’s natal festival spread throughout the Western Church. In Eastern traditions of the Church, Epiphany remains the principal celebration of the birth of Jesus. (adapted from Treasury of Daily Prayer)

A blessed Christmas,
Pastor John Rickert

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