By Fr. George Zervos
Christmas is the day when Jesus was born in the Flesh to the ever-virgin Mary. He was born to her in the town of Bethlehem, Judea. The facts of His Birth are explained beautifully from the writings found in the Bible. Together, let us listen eagerly and learn from these words as proclaimed by the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Trinity.
Mary's Engagement to Righteous Joseph
In his first chapter, Saint Matthew relates that Mariam (Mary's Jewish name) was engaged to Joseph. (In those days an engaged man and woman were considered married.) When Joseph realized that Mary was pregnant he decided to divorce her. But, before he could go through with this act, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him that Mary's pregnancy is of the Holy Spirit and the seed within her is Divine. Furthermore, the angel told Joseph that when the child is born he was to name Him Jesus, which means that He is the world's Savior. Six hundred years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had foretold of this birth to be, by saying “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bare a son and His name shall be Emmanuel, which translated means "God is with us." (Is. 7:14)
St. Paul proceeds further in his epistle to the Galatians saying, "Brethren, when the fullness of time came, God sent His own Son. He came from a woman. He came (and lived) under the Law." (Gal 4:4) The fullness of time means that God had determined that it was time to break the bondage of sin and that is why He sent His only begotten Son into the world to accomplish this act of salvation for all humanity.
So when the seed was placed within Mariam's womb by the Holy Spirit, she conceived Jesus the Son of God. This divine act is commonly referred to as the INCARNATION, or better yet, when Jesus assumed human flesh. The Incarnation of Jesus, we must realize, is the crux of the Christian belief together with His Resurrection. Unbelievers choose to discard both of these realities.
The Divine Birth of Jesus the Son of God is why we, as Christians, celebrate Christmas Day. It is true that we enjoy receiving gifts and being with family, but we should first focus on Christ's love for us, which makes this day so special. May we remember Christ's humility in His willingness to be born in a cave. May we remember that He condescended to go through all the tribulations, hostility, torture and Crucifixion on the Cross for our salvation. May we put partying second and attending Christmas Eve Services first. May the feast at home be second and the feast of the Eucharist first. May we remember to confess our sins and ask forgiveness from our Lord as well as our family – that being one of our best Christmas gifts.
Christ is born! Glorify Him!