Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Saints of the Nativity Fast

There are so many special saints remembered in December during the fast and in the days following Christmas. The saints who have come to be associated with Christmas: St. Nicholas, St. Lucia, St. Stephen; and so many others St. Barbara, St. John of Damascus, St. Herman.

 I know from the outside it seems like a strange tradition to celebrate other people, and it seems to detract from the birth of Christ. But the truth, is that each of these saints is only commemorated because of Christ! Because of their love and faith in Christ, they showed Him in their own lives. By honoring them, we honor Christ! And by following their example - we follow the example of Christ! So here's a list of these saints, and briefly,how they exemplify Christ for us:

St. John of Damascus (12/4) - he defended the icons, the image of Christ incarnate, he suffered persecution humbly and with great faith

St. Barbara (12/4) - she was also a martyr, she learned of the true God through observing the beauty of the world

St. Nicholas (12/6) - he gave to the poor, he cared for his people, he defended the divinity of Christ

St. Lucia (12/13) - she died for her faith in Christ, she visited the sick and fed the poor and hungry

Three Holy Youths (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) (12/17) - "The three holy children in the furnace the Child of the Theotokos saved; then was the type, now is its fulfillment, and the whole world gathers to sing: All ye works, praise the Lord, and magnify Him unto all ages." - from the Canon of the Akathist

St. Stephen (12/27) - he was the first martyr to die for Christ, he was one of the first deacons to serve the Church

Holy Innocents (12/29) - "Herod finally realized that his scheme to find the Child would not be successful, and he ordered that all the male children two years old and younger at Bethlehem and its surroundings be killed. He thought that the divine Infant, Whom he considered a rival, would be among the dead children. The murdered infants thus became the first martyrs for Christ." - OCA.org/saints

St. Herman - he was a missionary who brought the good news to America

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