What does it mean to be spiritual? The world knows and promotes all kinds of “spiritualities” related to music, art, nature, leisure, sports, and many other kinds of human activities, including religious and quasi-religious practices. Many such activities are fairly harmless and promote a sense of physical and emotional well-being. Others however may involve obsessive preoccupations with popular music, sports or other forms of entertainment, and may actually be quite harmful, such as in the case of experimentation with drugs.
For Orthodox Christians, being spiritual has to do with ordinary Christian living based on faith in God as we know Him in the person of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. For an Orthodox Christian, the first thing about being spiritual is not to dare think that you are spiritual but only humbly to seek to live by your faith in Christ and His teachings. Faithfulness, humility, discernment, peacefulness, love, truthfulness, compassion, and inner joy are the primary attributes of Orthodox spirituality.
1. Theophany or Epiphany and Christmas. Theophany is one of the great Feasts of the Lord of the ecclesiastical year. It is also called Epiphany and the Day of Lights and is celebrated on the 6th of January. The names of this Feast indicate the understanding of the ancient Church concerning this Feast. This understanding is connected with the revelation of God, that is, the manifestation of the One God in Trinity through the Incarnation of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently, Theophany comprises the birth of Christ and the related events (e.g. the visitation of the Magi) and also the beginning of the public manifestation of the inca
Christmas is before us. How will we choose to celebrate it? And what, by the way, are we actually celebrating?
For Christians, Christmas is the Great Feast of the Nativity according to the flesh of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. With inspiring eloquence, St. John the Theologian writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1).
The Word Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God and the door to the mystery of His Incarnation is opened by the Church’s beautiful hymnology. St. Joseph the Hymnographer chants: “The Son of the Father…has appeared to us…to give light to those in darkness and to gather the dispersed. Therefore, the far-famed Theotokos do we magnify.”
From St. John of Damascus: “A most glorious mystery is accomplished today: nature is renewed, and God becomes Man. What He was, He has remained; and what He was not, He has taken on Himself without suffering commingling or division.”