Celebrating the Feasts of our Lord
By Fr. Moses Samaan
“Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16)
In the month of January and first half of February, our Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates five feasts of our Lord Jesus Christ: The Nativity, The Circumcision, The First Miracle at Cana of Galilee, The Theophany, and The Presentation of Our Lord at the Temple. During the first four centuries of Christianity, the Feasts of the Nativity and Theophany were celebrated together and included all aspects of His coming. They later became two separate feasts. These feasts are not just historical remembrances of events that occurred over 2000 years ago, but rather are events for us to live and experience so we may grow spiritually and evermore perfectly towards the image of Christ.
The Importance of the feasts:
In our daily preoccupation, God sometimes may get marginalized in our life. Therefore, year after year the Holy Church gives us the liturgical feasts as constant reminders so that our Lord becomes the focus and we can feel His mystical presence in our midst. Although all the events that took place while Christ was in the flesh happened at certain historical moments, they are never meant to be celebrated as historical events. Since our Lord Jesus Christ transcends time, they are relevant for all times and become eternal and aimed for our salvation. That is why we will find in many of doxologies of the feasts the word “today”, indicating the perpetual presence of Christ amongst us. We travel with Christ through His journey on this earth, thus sanctifying our time and transforming our life into opportunities to develop and nurture the likeness of God in us. This helps us to achieve illumination and leads to our spiritual growth and maturity, which will in turn lead to our communion with our Lord and our salvation.