FAITH AND RITUAL
“…And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, True God of True God, Begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made: Who for us men (τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, human beings) and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man (ἐνανθρωπήσαντα, became human)…” (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed)
“Celebrating“ a great feast like the Nativity of our Lord, or Theophany, we are putting this faith into a special kind of action. It is the specific, very human action called “ritual“ (perhaps from the root “re(i)“ meaning “to count, number“). Through ritual we “keep track“ of, and emphasize, that which we hold dear, like life (when we celebrate birthdays), or love (when we celebrate marriage), lest we forget “who“ we are and “that“ we, indeed, are.
Let me prepare to celebrate our common faith “in one Lord, Jesus Christ,“ the “Light of Light,“ lest I forget the Source of all that is light in my life. Tomorrow some of us will sing, “Your Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone to the world the light of knowledge!“ (Troparion of the Nativity), and others of us – ”Today You have shown forth to the world, O Lord, and the light of Your countenance has been marked on us” (Kontakion of Theophany). Mark Your light upon all of us, O Lord, through our light-giving rituals. Amen.