Those Who Serve During Christmas

Those Who Serve During Christmas


When we think of Christmas, we think of our families, of the Liturgies, yes, of the gifts, of the reunions, etc. Often we forget about those who serve us this day. No, I am not simply talking about the priests, deacons, subdeacons, chanters, etc., who serve in the various Liturgies. I am talking about those who are unseen and, all too often, forgotten.

This Christmas, I will be working. No, not simply because I am a priest, though I will assist in the Christmas Liturgy. But, I also work at the VA, and I will be working there on second shift. Joining me will be clinical laboratory scientists, physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, x-ray techs, pharmacists, etc., etc., etc. Around your neighborhood there will be police, firemen, EMTs, power station technicians, etc. Some will serve the elderly in nursing homes, the disabled, and the orphans. Overseas, we have not only troops, but also embassy personnel in every country in the world (with two or three exceptions). They represent the USA to others and are our public face to the world.

Sadly, there will be people working who should not have to work. As Christians, we should be ashamed of going to restaurants and stores on the Feast of the Nativity. Our “pleasure” means their forced work. It is always amazing to me how those who most strongly support keeping Christ in Christmas turn right around and think nothing of engaging in unnecessary activities that force others to miss their Christmas family celebrations.

Nevertheless, this Christmas, let us remember those who are servants, those who serve us. Without them, there would be no Christmas Eve and Christmas Day liturgies. Without them, there would be no defense against fires and foes. Without them, there would be no one to care for our injuries and our emergencies. Without them, no one would care for the orphan, the elderly, and the disabled. Without them, stranded travelers and USA citizens with foreign problems would not find a helping hand. Without them, the foe would not be held at bay by our troops. Without them, we would not be able to go to a restaurant, though I am convinced that this is a misuse of our liberties.

Let us pray and thank God for those who serve us. More than that, let us make a commitment to thank them so that they know that they are appreciated. And, for those who should not be working on this day, let us make a commitment that we will not go to restaurants or engage in any behavior that is thoroughly optional, but will prevent some from enjoying their Christmas holiday.

In other words, let us make a commitment to truly keep Christ in Christmas, by our thoughts, words, and deeds.

Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+

About author

Fr. Ernesto Obregon

I am a Cuban. My sister and I arrived in the United States of America in 1961. I was nine years old at the time and my sister was five. Yes, alone. Our mother, a widow, put us on the plane in La Habana, and we were taken to an orphanage upon our arrival in Miami. No, I never lived in Miami for longer than about six months. Yes, we and our mother were re-united. She escaped from Cuba by boat about four or five months after we arrived in the USA. We were re-united and were sent by the Catholic Welfare folk to Ohio, where they had found my mother a job and us a foster home while she learned English and got situated. So, I grew up in Ohio, had a paper route, learned to build snowmen, and moved from place to place as out mother got better jobs. Eventually she met a good man and re-married and we settled into his house in Mansfield, Ohio. I was a 15-year-old teenager.

Needless to say, none of this was necessarily guaranteed to keep me strong in the faith, although my mother tried. I rebelled during my teenage years and left Roman Catholicism for some vague hippie philosophies and a lot of rebellion. By 1970 I had been expelled from college after my first year, a year in which I was very confused and quite directionless. When I returned to Mansfield in defeat, I was approached by a friend who had become a “Jesus Person.” He took me to this “farm” that was filled with about four middle-aged adults and lots of early 20′s Jesus People. One of those adults was a Southern Baptist pastor, a former Campus Crusade staffer, and uncomfortable supervisor of hippy Jesus People, and is now the Very Rev. Gordon Walker, an Archpriest of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. His story, along with others whom I know, is chronicled in the book, “Becoming Orthodox” by the Very Rev. Peter Gillquist.

My journey was different. I eventually ended up as an Anglican priest, and a missionary. My wife and I served in both Bolivia and Perú, and our three intelligent and very perspicacious daughters spent a decade of their formative years in South America. I ended up as The Archdeacon of Arequipa of the Anglican Church of Perú, which is part of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which is part of the Anglican Communion.

We returned to the USA when our children began to attend college, and I took a parish in one of the dioceses of The Episcopal Church. Within less than four years, we realized that this was not a Church in which I could doctrinally live.

It was at this point that Fr. Gordon Walker came actively back into my life and told me that it was time that I came into Orthodoxy. He was right, and I have been Orthodox ever since. I was ordained in the Antiochian Orthodox jurisdiction, but am currently serving as an attached priest at a Greek Orthodox Church. God has blessed us. We have wonderful grandchildren. And we are truly blessed.