Incarnation Cycle

Christmas: The Spirituality of and Environment for the Season (Part I)

May 10, 2007

JOHAN VAN PARYS

Read Part II of this 2-part article.

The Spirituality of Christmas

The word "Christmas," derived from "Cristes Maesse," really means the "celebration of Christ" or "Christ's feast."  This implies that at Christmas, the Christians celebrate the fullness of the mystery of Christ and not just his birth.  Therefore, to compare Christmas with a birthday party is entirely inappropriate.

In the same way as Advent is a meditation on and the anticipation of Christ's coming in the past, the present, and the future, Christmas celebrates Christ's birth in this world, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

In preparation for the fulfillment of the promise, we may want to contemplate the Orthodox image of the Theotokos, the God-Bearer, the Mother of God.  As we ponder the mystery of the Virgin bearing the divine Child, we are called to mystically share in that privilege and be Theotokoi ourselves, God-bearers, Christ-bearers to one another.  The Incarnation cycle is a time to learn what it means to be pregnant with the love of God and to bear the promise of salvation to one another.

Johan van Parys is the Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts at the Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, MN.

READ OTHER ARTICLES BY JOHAN VAN PARYS:

Advent: The Spirituality of and Environment for the Season (Part I and Part II)
Christmas: The Spirituality of and Environment for the Season (Part II)
Epiphany: The Spirituality of and Environment for the Solemnity (Part I and Part II)
Lectio Divina - Visio Divina
On Becoming the Paschal Mystery (Part I, Part II, and Part III)
The Fundamental Virtues of Liturgical Architecture
Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus
We Are the Body of Christ

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