The Nativity of Our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ has been celebrated with all solemnity and joy since the very earliest period of the Church.
Until the 4th century this Feast was kept on January 6, when the Church also remembered the Baptism of Our Lord in the River Jordan. It was called the Theophony and was dedicated especially to the manifestation of God in the flesh. ("Theophany" means the "showing forth of God.")
The early Church knew that there was a mystical relationship between the first and the Second Adam, between the one that brought death into the world and the One Who brought life and salvation. According to very ancient tradition, Christ, the "Second Adam," was born on the same day on which Adam, the first-created one, was born--that is, on the "Sixth Day," which corresponded to the sixth day of the first month (January 6th on the Julian Calendar).
In the fourth century many errors were being taught, especially by the followers of Arius. They denied that Jesus was of the same substance as God; they believed that He was only the highest of created beings (a false teaching that has again become fashionable in our own days). According to this error, Orthodox Christians could not celebrate the birth in flesh of God Himself (which is called the Doctrine of the Incarnation), but only the birth of a very special creature who was not in reality God,
It is not uncommon for Orthodox Christians to participate in a yoga class. It is normally seen as good exercise for the body. But are you aware of the source of this practice and the purpose of many of its exercises?
There was an article recently the NYT about yoga and sex scandals. It was about the founder of Ansura one of the world's fastest growing yoga styles who is accused of sexual impurities with female students. But this is not why I reference this article. It goes on to highlight the nature of yoga practice and it's roots.
Did you know that this practice began as a sex cult? Hatha yoga is the root of these practices and it began as a branch of Tantra. This was a group who sought to integrate the male and female aspects of creation into a blissful state. Their rites included group
A few people wonder why we fast before Nativity. The Lenten fast seems more obvious. Also, from what foods do we normally fast from during the Nativity fast?
We fast before the Great Feast of the Nativity in order to prepare ourselves for the celebration of Our Lord’s birth. As in the case of Great Lent, the Nativity Fast is one of preparation, during which we focus on the coming of the Savior by fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.
By fasting, we “shift our focus” from ourselves to others, spending less time worrying about what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and so on in order to use our time in increased prayer and caring for the poor. We learn through fasting that we can gain control over things which we sometimes allow to control us—and for many people, food is a controlling factor.
[We live in the only society in which an entire TV network is devoted to food!] While fasting from food, however, we are also challenged to fast from sin, from gossip, from jealousy, from anger, and from those other things which, while well within our control, we all too often allow to control us.