|Mosaic in lobby of Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation|
Jesus' birth should be celebrated not only on December 25, but on everyday of the year, in every season. The historical and spiritual Jesus is God's great gift to the world! He was a poor boy who is now recognized as God's son. There is evidence that Jesus was born, but the significance of His birth is more important that the date of His birth.
|Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory and Metropolitan |
Alexios Panagiotopoulos had unifying messages during event: Jesus is a gift!
Matthew 2: 1-12 in a nutshell: Wise men frightened the political leaders of the day. Herod wanted to know where the Savior was so he could destroy Him. Jesus was a rising star. A true ruler leads people to the light of truth. The biblical wise men gave Jesus all the material treasures they could carry but didn't give parents any words of advice which you would think they would do. If they did, it was not recorded in the bible.
Metropolitan Alexios: Christmas is the biggest event for the human race. We are participating through faith in this historical event. This gathering is a performance when we can open your hearts to feel the presence of Jesus. How do we prepare to celebrate the birth of a Savior? Materialism has taken precedence over the historical celebration. Gift giving during Christmas should not over emphasize the material but should dwell on God's gift of Jesus, the Savior of our spirituality. Feel the presence of God during this time.
|Father Panayiotis (l) looks outward during ceremony.|
1. It was too cold for shepherds to be out at night tending their flocks. They were probably in caves resting from a hard day's work.
2. Pagans celebrated their SUN rituals on December 25. Christmas was actually first celebrated in 336 AD by Christians.
3. There was a census being taken at the time of Jesus' birth which is in the public record.
4. According to Jewish tradition, high priests would go into the Holy of Holies at a specific time. Zachariah was a high priest who went into the Holy of Holies. His wife, Elizabeth, was pregnant before Mary. Mary became pregnant in March... December is nine months later.
5. Early church leaders intentionally picked December 25 to celebrate Jesus' birth. Don't worry about the date because the early Christians made the decision... rejoice in that decision.
|Church processional after event|
Archbishop Wilton Gregory: Come together in prayer. Be gracious and grateful. Christ must be reborn everyday in your spirit, regardless of the date of December 25. Celebrate His sacrifice. I look forward to the day we can all worship at one altar. Christmas is a mystery. Draw close to the manger. Jesus was born a poor child. Keep alive faith, unity, and peace. Welcome God's Son made flesh. May God's blessing remain with us forever.
|Jesus in dome of Atlanta's Orthodox Cathedral|