As we prayed the Royal Hours this morning at Sts Constantine and Helen, I was struck by the simple but profound nature of this service. Ancient hymnody combined with the Word of the Ancients blessed and empowered by the Holy Spirit are indeed overwhelming. In the midst of the driving rain (here in Southern Illinois near St. Louis) and increasing traffic due to drivers driving the last minute shopping, it was truly a blessing for our small group to pray and meditate as we look to Nativity.
I couldn't help but make some comparison to the hectic nature of preparations in my "former life," what with choosing music and working with choirs and soloists and preparing multiple service. None of that any more: Holy Mother Church blesses us with what is given, both in Royal Hours, and later this afternoon in Vesperal Divine Liturgy. Literally, we will be joined by other Orthodox throughout the world praying the same prayers, singing the same hymns, celebrating the same Divine Liturgy. Simple. Profound. And, at least to my mind and in light of my own experience in over three decades, much less hectic.
This morning, as we stopped by Starbucks for coffee prior to Royal Hours (a little strange, since most of the time when we head to Church we are fasting in preparation for Divine Liturgy! :) ) we shared a bit of what was in store for these days with the folks waiting on us. Actually, we tied up the line as they asked more questions, interested that the hymnody that we used was so ancient -- further interested in that we use no instruments!
The joy of the day, the heart of these days is in Christ our God and His Nativity, not in all the other "stuff" that comes crashing down so hard in the days following Thanksgiving in the U. S.
By the way, I do recommend heartily "Christmas in General" over at Glory to God for All Things. Father Stephen offers a true blessing for consideration!
So, to all who might read these humble thoughts of one lately come: may yours be a truly blessed Christmas, for Christ is Born! Glorify Him.