The Diocese of California has for the first time celebrated the Holy Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the English language.
Taking place at Mar Addai Church in the city of Turlock on 24 December 2010, the Eucharistic service was celebrated by Reverend Father Genard Lazar and drew participation of about 110 faithful of all ages, gathered together to commemorate the joyous occasion of Christ’s birth.
Rev. Genard’s sermon, which focused on the act of gift-giving, stressed the importance of Christ’s presence on earth as a gift to the world.
“Christmas is the season of gift-giving,” he said, “because God gave humanity a gift on the very first Christmas.”
In his sermon, Rev. Genard also explicated the gifts of the Magi to Christ. In remembering those first three gifts presented to Christ, he encouraged the faithful to consider offering gifts of bodies, hearts and souls to the Savior of the world, on the day when the celebration of His birth should take center stage.
At the conclusion of the service, the faithful were joined by Rev. Genard and the deacons in the church basement for fellowship.
Anokeen Varani, one of many faithful that helped organize the fellowship after the Eucharistic service, was surprised to see the gathering of so many people, including a number of families in attendance together.
“Seeing so many people that never go to the midnight mass with their parents was great and it filled a kind of gap; so often parents have to beg their kids to go to church with them, but this time it was the kids motivating the parents,” said Ms Varani.
Deacon Ramil Bivyoyodavid, who has previously participated in Eucharistic services conducted in the English language, expressed his excitement about the opportunity to assist Rev. Genard, along with other deacons, in celebrating the Holy Feast of the Nativity in accordance with the orders of Mar Addai and Mar Mari.
“The fact that so many people attended the Christmas Eve service shows that conducting Eucharistic services in English has proven beneficial for many people – regardless of age,” said Deacon Ramil.
Though the Diocese always celebrates the Feast of the Nativity on Christmas Eve, this was the first time the services were also offered in the English language on a special Feast day.[nggallery id=119]