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Dear friends! The Catalog of Good Deeds team starts a new series of personal stories devoted to the Feast of the Nativity. Our brothers and sisters are going to share with you some of their brightest Christmas memories from their childhood and explain how that influenced their own perception of this Great Feast.
I was born to a family of non-believers so during the first several years of my life we celebrated only the New Year. The Soviet Union сollapsed when I was 7, and our country saw an influx of new religious movements and foreign Christian denominations, and a revival of those that were already present here. My parents’ friends became Baptists, and my family followed suit. It was in a Baptist church that I first learned about Christmas and what it meant for me. I went to a Sunday School and then to a youth group, where I was a leader even. A life of a Baptist requires a lot more commitment than that of a typical Orthodox Christian, at least here in Belarus where there are so many cradle Orthodox: I recall going to church almost every day, except Friday when it was a Ladies’ Meeting. 🙂
I recall how we celebrated Christmas in our youth group. Usually, we had a service at church on December 24, after which we went to someone’s place. Everyone brought some delicious food. We prayed, talked, played the guitar and sang Christian songs all night long. At dawn, we went back to church where we had a traditional Christmas drama performance for Sunday School kids. Most of us participated in that show, so actually, our rehearsals normally started a couple of weeks before the day. December 25 normally ended with a solemn service at church, with preaching and stuff, so you might imagine how tired we were after all those events. Tired but happy. After all, we were young, lively, and enthusiastic.
As I grew older, I became disillusioned with Baptism and Evangelicalism in general, not least because I felt that our way of celebrating holidays was a little shallow. I became Orthodox at 21, and have enjoyed the Orthodox way of celebrating Christmas and all other Christian holidays, with long seasons of preparations that make holidays especially rewarding and with the time-honored sacred texts of worship that literally make you feel in touch with the endless chain of saints beginning with the Apostles.
By Br. Fyodor (Vaskovsky),
a translator, a member of the Catalog of Good Deeds Team
More stories will come! Join our group on Facebook to share your childhood memories about Christmas with others and get a chance to receive one of our handmade gifts.