Orthodox Christians Celebrate the Feast of Nativity

John the Baptist and Virgin Mary are the only saints whose births are celebrated.

Feast of Nativity, also known as the Nativity of the Most Holy Lady, is celebrated by Catholics to mark the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The holiday is celebrated annually on September 8 although nothing about the birth of Mary is scripted in the Bible. It is the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James that accounts the birth of Mary. The date was chosen by the Eastern Church because it falls exactly nine months after the Feast of Immaculate Conception which was on December 8. However, for Christians belonging to the Orthodox Church, the holiday is celebrated on January 7, 2019.

The Story of Mary’s Conception and Birth

According to the apocryphal texts of the Protoevangelium of James, a wealthy couple named Anna and Joachim, descendants of the Twelve Tribes of Israel were barren and had prayed for a child. Joachim’s attempt to make an offering to a temple was turned away and banished by the High Priest.

While in the wilderness, the couple continued to pray and eventually an angel appeared to them and announced the ensuing conception. A conception of a child who will become known to the world. Joachim went home, and Virgin Mary was born.

Religious Significance

John the Baptist and Virgin Mary are the only saints whose births are commemorated. Other Saints are commemorated on their day of death. This is so because Mary was considered holy from the day of her conception and birth.

Therefore, the Feast of Nativity stresses the relationship between God and Jesus’ family right from the beginning. Mary received the highest mission from God which is the conception and birth of the Savior Jesus Christ. The holiday lets Christians celebrate and appreciate God’s power to transform barrenness to life.

Feast of Nativity is celebrated differently depending on which Catholic or Christian community one belongs to. In many denominations, the holiday coincides with the harvest season at the end of autumn. Therefore, most communities make harvest offerings towards the Virgin Mary.

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