Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How it fits together.

Today (from sundown on the 24th to sundown on the 25) is the Feast of the Annunciation. We tried going to the Vigil tonight but Basil was in rare form. I had to take him outside just after the reading of the 6 Psalms. Evening services with this boy are tough.

I think I might have mentioned this before, but one of the things I really like about Orthodoxy is that it answers questions that bugged me when I was a Protestant. The date of Christmas is one of those questions. I remember when I was a boy hearing theories about Jesus really being born in the Spring and not on December 25. For a couple of reasons this bothered me. (I won't go into them now.) But in Orthodoxy I had the question about the birth of Jesus answered, but not directly. (though I could have had it answered directly if I'd read more of St. John Chrysostom's works.) I had the question answered by way of the Annunciation.

Nine months before Jesus was born (Dec. 25), he was concieved: The Annunciation (Mar. 25). The Annunciation happened about 6 months after the the concepetion of John the Baptist.
So when was John the Baptist conceived? Ahhh. What an obscure question? The New Testament tells us very little about that, but enough to figure it out. St. Luke records that St. John's father was a priest of the the course of Abijah. (The priests of Israel were divied into 24 courses and served at different times of the year. See Chronicles 24.) The course of Abijah served at two different times: One of them was on the Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement).

When is Yom Kippur? It is always in mid-September/early October. That is the starting point. From the Day of Atonement all else is computed. So, St. John the Baptist was conceived in St. Elizabeth late September (the 23rd). Six months later (March 25) the Virgin conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Three months after that in late June, St. John was born. Six months later, December 25 Jesus was born.

I love how it all fits together.


Mimi said...

Isn't it amazing?

Happy Feast Day!

Philippa said...

Gosh, I never have had this figured out so clearly before. Thanks!