Joyful Noise: When Nature Mysteriously Smiles

c) 2014 Jocelyn Mathewes / used with permission

c) 2014 Jocelyn Mathewes / used with permission

“Why is it that on a Feast Day the whole of nature mysteriously smiles? Why is it that then a heavenly gladness fills our hearts; a gladness far beyond that of earth and the very air in church and in the altar becomes luminous? It is the breath of Thy gracious love. It is the reflection of the glory of Mount Tabor. Then do heaven and earth sing Thy praise: Alleluia!”
— Kontakion 9 from The Akathist Hymn of Thanksgiving

As we anticipate Nativity, I’m  taken in by the pause of Thanksgiving in the middle of our fast. It’s a unique experience for the Orthodox faithful in America, and I like to think that it’s a small intake of air before diving back underwater. In the deepest, darkest night of winter, we have a miracle, where, in spite of the cover of snow and the deadened grass, nature smiles and we know that the Light is yet to come. We are thankful for it.

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