“Your Nativity, O Virgin Theotokos, / Has proclaimed joy to the whole universe! / The Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, / Has shone from You! / Having annulled the curse (λύσας τὴν κατάραν), / He bestowed blessing. / Having destroyed death (καταργήσας τὸν θάνατον), He has granted us eternal Life.” (Troparion-hymn of the feast of The Nativity of the Theotokos)
The birth of a baby-girl to the elderly, marginalized, (because they’d been heretofore childless), Jewish couple, Joachim and Anna, over 2,000 years ago in a small village called Nazareth, did “proclaim” joy “to the whole universe,” – but not at the time that it happened. It would take years until “all generations” started to “call her blessed.”
Unlike a lot of the bad news that almost-instantly angers us in our 24/7 news-cycle, the “good news” that God has “proclaimed” to us throughout the centuries, and continues to proclaim to us, like the “joy” of the birth of the Theotokos, seems very slow to reach or interest us. Why? Is it because we are generally “quick to anger,” but slow to hear and receive joy? I don’t know, but I presume we need to be ready to receive it; to have “the ears to hear” it. Even we, believing Christians, who have heard many times about the birth of the Theotokos, might not experience this historical fact as a source of joy and blessing. That’s why the Church invites us wholeheartedly to “celebrate” it, year after year, on the great feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, (celebrated today on the Older Calendar), – not just like another bit of information to file away in our mental database (or arsenal) of “orthodox” truths. We are rather invited to partake of it, like of a source of joy, blessing, and also of healing, – from all the anger-generating, “other” kinds of information, which we sometimes readily share among and even against one another, esp. on social media.
Thank You, God, for leading us gradually, by the hand of our beautiful Tradition, into the mysteries of Your “good news,” year after year, despite our reluctance to receive it. Today let me allow myself to be blessed by, and to rejoice in, just one little factoid of Salvation History, the birth of Your Mother in Nazareth. By the prayers of the Theotokos, Saviour, save us!