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Image by Greg Rosenke

  The Birth of Jesus Christ (Christmas)


          The Feast of the Birth of Jesus Christ is one of the most joyful days of the Ethiopian Orthodox  Tewahodo Church that has been celebrated on Tahisas 29 E.C  in the three evangelical years (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) (January 7) and on Tahisas 28 (January 6) in a fourth-year cycle (in the year of John). The Feast of the Birth of Jesus which is parallel to “Lidet” in the Ethiopian Church is also known as the "Incarnation of Christ." This means that Jesus became a man and came into the world to save us. We also refer to this joyous feast as Christmas. The story of the Birth of Christ is superbly told in the Holy Scriptures. The story is mainly found in (Matthew 1:18-25 and in Luke 2:1-20).

The reason why Jesus was born
          God created Adam and Eve and placed them in a beautiful environment that supplied their every need. In the Garden of Eden, our original human parents found food plentiful, animals tame and a loving teacher—God Himself—accompanying them and teaching them everything they needed to know.


          If Adam and Eve had obeyed God, they could have bridged the gap between mortality and immortality; they had access to the tree of life. They had every advantage, so what went wrong? Adam and Eve did what every other human being has done: They sinned. They disobeyed God. God gave our original human parents the gift of free choice. He gave them the ability to decide whether they would obey Him, and they missed the mark. Satan, in the form of a serpent, attempted to subvert God’s will for mankind (Genesis: 3:1-4). The devil appealed to Eve’s vanity, convincing her she could be like God Himself, "knowing good and evil" (Genesis: 3: 5).


          Satan, in a blatant lie, told Eve she didn’t have to depend on God for anything. Satan posed as the liberator, offering Eve instant gratification. Eve was willingly deceived by this appeal to her vanity, so she ate the forbidden fruit and presented the same fruit to her husband. Adam then also ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis: 3: 6). Though Adam was created in the likeness of his Lord, man transgressed; hence demons ruled over him instead of the gracious will of the Lord. The power of the demon over man made his body decay in the grave and his soul languishes in hell. Therefore, man was living in Condemnation due to the Sin man committed which threw him into hell where he lived in utter disgrace for five and half millennia. Jesus had to be born because God wanted to remove the sins of humankind through a perfect sacrifice by revealing His own character to humanity.

          He has given us in His birth the life we have lost for ages. Man and angels have together borne witness to this restoration of heavenly peace in their welcoming song. He himself has also later in His Ministry said that His peace is not like the one the world might offer. His peace is eternal while that of the world is only ephemeral. (Jn.14:2)

By and large, this Birth has completely changed man’s history. Man is indeed transformed to his original grace due to this Divine Birth, and eternal salvation is delivered. Human beings and angels sang together. Angles chased man out of the Garden of Eden when he sinned and they also guarded it with swords of flame. Hence, Adam never returned to Eden. When Christ was born, the two reconciled and sang together. They together praised the incarnate God. This demonstrated the true reconciliation between heaven and earth. (Luke 2:8-20).

         The church has taught actively for the last 2006 years about the grand nature of this Holy day. How about us? How do we celebrate the day?  When the shepherds were told in the night about the news of His birth, what they said was, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." (Luke 2:15)  There, they went and found Christ in a manger with His mother. We have to always find ourselves in Bethlehem, the Church if we want to find the Holy Savior with His mother.

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