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Nativity – 2023

I’ve chosen the religious name for Russian Christmas this year. Indeed, I wanted to stress the religious aspect of this holiday in Russia. So many people visit churches on January 6th and 7th, post themed cards and images on social networks, exchange them in messengers! There are lots of themed events, and of course, there’re many wonderful dishes cooked and eaten today in the most religious households because on the 7th the 40-day long St Philip’s, or Nativity, Lent ends.

After my friend and I have undertaken the labour of love with the Christmas Calendar I now realize how Christian our world is. It remains Christian despite endless attempts to rid it of any hint at religious faith, of veneration, adoration, and all-encompassing Love. I was gradually turning to Orthodox Faith since 2014, but it wasn’t until 2018 that I saw the proof of God’s watching over us, supporting and helping us. And after I saw that I know today that He loves us in any state of mind and body, as per the parable of the prodigal son. He knows our hearts like we rarely do, and He is happy to give us the best He has for us. Alas, we are so entrenched in vanity and pride that we want to be the god of our own life and so we demand Him to give us what we’ve made up for ourselves. And when He doesn’t, we get offended.

Prince Grigory Gagarin, Nativity

This is the quest some parts of the world are currently going through. People there have convinced themselves and are trying to convince others that God’s will is void, and that everyone is free to choose everything, including a gender. The fact is that humankind knows no other way of reproducing itself except by marrying a Man and a Woman. There may be other ways but they are not human, all in all.

So, on the day of Russian Orthodox Nativity let us turn our hearts and minds to the beautiful story of God the Father materializing miraculously in this life via a Maiden. I read the akathist to the Nativity of Jesus Christ today and I was moved a few times quite potently. It is a great joy that Our Saviour was born; and in spring, at Easter, He will be born again – into Eternal Life. Each time our world is born and resurrects with Him.

Lorenzo Lotto, The Adoration of the Shepherds

Author: Julia Shuvalova

Julia Shuvalova is the author of Los Cuadernos de Julia blog. She is an author of several books, a translator, and a Foreign Languages tutor. She lives and works in Moscow, Russia.

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