Monday, December 01, 2008

Holidays and a prayer request

I am used to seeing Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving. But this year I some something new. Christmas trees and tinsle displayed in shops at the same time as Hallowe'en ghouls and blood. Is it just me or does anyone else think there is something fundamentally wrong with that? Now to be fair, I have been listening to Christmas music since September, but quietly, and not in public. Besides, Christianity is an Incarnational and Resurrectional Faith, so, as I have been informed, it is always appropriate to greet each other with a "Christ is Born!" or a "Christ is Risen!" But Christmas wreaths hanging on the wall next to witch's brooms? Bah! It is just wrong. Over at First Things they are talking about what happens when Christmas lasts too long.

Today, Anselm Samuel came home from school and told me that he learned that there are three ways to celebrate Christmas: Christmas, Chanukha, and Kwanzaa. I almost gagged. So, his mother and I explained to him that that was not correct. (the teacher will get an email.) I asked him what we celebrate at Christmas. Of course, he knew the answer. I asked him what the Jews (including Jesus) celebrate on Chanukha. Of course, he knew the answer. And I told him that Kwanzaa is a non-Christian festival and we do not observe it. (In case you are wondering, Christians do celebrate Chanukah. Every celebration of the Divine Liturgy takes us into the 8th Day pre-figured by the Chanukah event.)

Rather than spending anytime at all explaining to Anselm why we do not observe the vile Kwanzaa, we will simply keep him busy with all of the real Holy Days that occur this time of year.

Tomorrow, rather, today since it is after sunset, is the feast day of one of my new favorite saints, The Prophet Habakuk (If God gives me another son, I'm leaning toward Habakuk.) Today we celebrate him, but on Pascha he celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus..

"The inspired prophet Habakuk now stands with us in holy vigil, he is like a shining angel who cries with a piercing voice: Today salvation has come to the world for Christ is risen as all powerful!" (4th Ode, Paschal Canon)

On Wednesday we will commemorate St. Alexander Hotovitzky, who established so many parishes here in America and defeated Satan and received the Martyrs crown in Russia.

St. Nicholas' Day is on the 6th, of course. Between then and now I'm going to teach Anselm Samuel the troparion between now and then, and have him sing it during morning prayers. I think it is probably important that the troparion doesn't dwell on the candy parents deliver in his name, neither on the miracles he performed and performs. Rather the troparion talks about St. Nicholas' orthodox dogma (Did you know that in all the world, only Rome and St. Nicholas' diocese in Myra were uncorrupted by Arianism?) humility (he accepted deposition from the hands of his brother bishops even though he was right) and self-control (he remained steadfast in his profession of Jesus Christ under torture).

St. Ambrose's (and that cool story of the penance he laid on Emperor Theodosius) is the day after St. Nicholas. And there is St. Herman, St. Anna, St. Ignatius, and so many others. Well, I don't want to put the whole church calendar in this one blog post. Suffice it to say, between now and the leave taking of Theophany (It totally bugs me that Kwanzaa is covered in school but Theophany isn't. How many people celebrate Theophany vs. Kwanzaa?) there is much goodness, and no reason to even think of that other thing Anselm heard about in school today.


Mimi said...

I have always found Kwanzaa to be eyerolling myself.

And, Habakuk is a cool name, but not as cool as the Gleb I wish I was able to use.

Matt said...

Gleb is good. But you need Boris to go with it.

Jeff said...

I would have loved to have been there when Anselm mentioned Kwanzaa to you. Must haved been priceless