Tag Archive for: nativity

Theophany 2023 – Armenian Christmas

Divine Liturgy celebrating Theophany – REVELATION OF GOD
followed by Water Blessing

Սուրբ և Անմահ Պատարագ՝ Աստուածայայտնութեան
և Ջրօհնէք

Father Vazken Movsesian, Celebrant


Armodoxy for Today: Theophany

When we first began to journey through Advent I mentioned that there are three Gospel narratives concerning the birth of Jesus Christ. We are all familiar with St. Matthew’s account of the Nativity, with the virgin birth, to the visit of the Magi. Likewise we know that St. Luke presents the Nativity in the context of the census and with Joseph and Mary finding a birthing area in a barn because there was “no room at the inn.” The angels herald the Good News with the words “Peace on Earth and good will among men.”

The third Nativity story does not read like the other two. It is recorded by the Evangelist St. John in His Gospel. The time referenced is not two thousand years ago, rather it at the beginning of all time. It reads as follows:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

The final narrative, the one according to St. John, is about the eternal presence of the Christ. The holy words of scripture point to the Eternal One, the Creator and the Source of Light. And now, “The Word became flesh” and “Dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (14)

We refer to this event as the Theophany, that is, the Revelation of God. In Armenian, the word is descriptive of the event, Asdvadzahaydnutiun. In Jesus Christ, God is revealed to humanity. The Nativity is part of the Theophany. He that was at the beginning, the One that took nothing and created the stars and the sky, the sea and scenery, is now in our midst. Advent has prepared us for this moment and we now understand that no matter how long we prepare, we can never be prepared enough to stand in His presence. It is only by His grace that we can find the expression of awe that lifts up from our inner being.

January 6 is the feast of Theophany, Asdvadzahaydnutiun. It arrives in two days. The 50 days of Advent have been filled with lessons from Holy Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus Christ. We are ready to view the Theophany through the lens of Armodoxy. That means, with awe we await to witness the Nativity from Bethlehem to our homes. We look up to the heavens and see the shining star guiding us to the stable where the Child Jesus is wrapped in swaddling clothe and lays in a major. And the spot under the star is in our neighborhood, close to home. We now understand that the star shines above Artsakh, Ukraine, the Congo, Ecuador, and San Salvador because most of all, we understand that Jesus Christ is revealed under each of these locations. Tomorrow comes a revelation of God, on the eve of the Birth of Christ.

Let us pray, Lord God, on this Holy Day you came into a world in the most lowly of all conditions. You came to share Your Divine message with us. Fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit. Give us strength to marvel at the wonders of this Day and to stand in awe. Give us the perception to see the star of Bethlehem everywhere where you are born to those in need, to us and those who hurt.  I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be witnesses to this blessing. Amen.

Fast for Nativity

Armodoxy for Today: Fast for Nativity

All good things come with discipline. A regular prayer life is essential for the Christian, as is engaging with the Holy Scriptures and regular participatory practice in community worship. Christianity engages the body, soul and mind with its teachings and practices.

Toward the discipline of the body, the Church prescribes fasting. Today, the fasting period for Theophany begins.

Every major event in the Armenian Church, is preceded by a period of fasting. The practice can take different forms. Whether you fast completely or partially, the matter is between you and God, and no one else. Jesus’ instruction for fasting is clear “When you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18)

When you fast you only naturally think of food. Hunger brings pain physically and psychology you experience discomfort because you know that food is only a few steps or minutes and yet you are being deprive of food of your own will. In that discomfort you understand Christ’s words, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

The first day of fasting is truly the hardest because your body is acclimating to the hunger. On the second and third days your body begins to understand that there is a change and accepts the hunger and focuses on strengthening the spiritual and psychological senses.

Theophany is in sight. It is the revelation of God, the Creator, Jesus Christ on earth, in our midst. Being ready psychologically and emotionally has been the journey of the last several weeks. This last week, with the addition of fasting, we bring these all elements together to meet and greet Christ in his Incarnation.

If you were to see Christ in your midst, that is, with you and your family and friends, what would be your reaction? Would you say, “Merry Christmas?” Would you say, “Christ is in our midst?” or would your reaction be more profound? Would you be shocked and in awe? Finding that perfect expression of joy in meeting the Christ Child in our midst is the focus of this Advent Journey.

Let us pray, Lord Jesus, you were born and revealed, bringing Light into the world. Fill the darkness that surrounds me with the Light that is you. Fill my heart with your Love, so that there is no room for hatred, disease and evil. And may I meet you with as a disciple of your love. Amen.

Obedience on Christmas Eve


Next Step #655: The Christmas Eve edition of the Next Step. Looking at joy, perseverance, eagerness, obedience and peace from the manger and adding the 2020 optimism so necessary for today. Yes, optimism. Hope, as Christ is born.
War is over/Solstice is here (NS289)
432 children born in Yerevan: https://news.am/eng/news/620143.html
Christmas Eve service and homily
Toy Drive 2020 https://www.facebook.com/inhisshoes.org/posts/3652289364830938
Cover: The joy, eagerness and peace prayer of Christmas
Joan Baez “Little Drummer Boy”
Jon Schmidt “Christmas Medley
Jethro Tull “Christmas Song”
Technical Stuff: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://InHisShoes.org
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand! 

Babe in from the Cold


Bringing the Babe in from the Cold

Next Step #551 – December 27, 2018 – In limbo twixt Christmas and New Year, Fr. Vazken reflects on looking inside the manger and seeing what lurks beyond. The imperfect circumstances become the perfect story in the Nativity narrative. There is joy, eagerness, wonder, obedience and peace, and yet, beyond the dangers of materialism and the filth of drugs and addiction have claimed the lives of too many. A very personal plea to look past the Baby. The measurements of strength.
A Christmas Song by Jethro Tull
In His Shoes at Christmas Message
Muhammad Ali Bouts
Cover: Moonlight over Mendocino by Fr. Vazken 2018
Technical Director: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!

Tag Archive for: nativity

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