by Presbytera Iryna Galadza
St. Elias Church, Brampton, ON
As Christians, we have inherited a tradition of greeting each other with seasonal greetings that express a theological truth and that bring faith into our daily lives.  Glory to Jesus Christ – Glory Forever; Christ is among us – He is and will be; Christ is Risen – Truly He is Risen; and during this Nativity Season, Christ is Born – Glorify Him!  Fortunately, these greetings are so well known that even those who don’t speak Ukrainian have mastered Slava Isusu Khrystu – Slava na Viky, Krystos Voskres – Voistynu Voskres and now you hear over and over again, Krystos Narodyvsia – or is it Krystos Rozhdayetsia?
In the last decade or so, the contemporary termnarodyvsia came into popular usage, replacing the more traditional Old Slavonic razhdayetsia. Unfortunately, this attempt to make the term more understandable has changed the theological meaning of the Nativity greeting from Christ is Bornto Christwas Born.  This is not an insignificant detail. The celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is not simply the remembrance of a historical event, but more significantly the celebration of the present reality: that today in Christ’s birth God has united heaven with earth; that todayin Christ’s birth a new creation is born; that today in Christ’s birth, the firstborn son of an eternally new humanity is revealed; that today in Christ’s birth, we ourselves are born anew in him as he extends his divine life to us, His church, and that He is, O wonder of wonders, in a sense, born in us!
The forty days of fasting and preparation for the Feast is focused on repentance, emptying ourselves of the passions that plague us and making room for Christ in our lives.  The prayers, the gospel readings in the Sundays before the Nativity, the almsgiving and all our ascetical efforts are a preparation for renewing our participation in the new reality that the birth of Christ has brought into our humanity and into our world today! Indeed the whole world, believers and non-believers alike, seem caught up in the good will and generosity that prevail during the Christmas season. For today, we celebrate in His birth that all things are indeed made incredibly new!
In the newest edition of Christ Our Pascha, the Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, on p. 309, there is a list of Christian greetings, among them,  Христос Рождається – Славітe Його! (Khrystos Rоzhdayetsia – Slavite Yoho)  This is the translation that the head of our Church, Patriarch Sviatoslav, has mandated for use in all catechetical materials and the one to be taught to our children.

Throughout this Festal Nativity Season, which extends for 40 days from December 25/January 7 to February 2/15 greet each other with joy, proclaiming the true meaning of the Feast, that Christ is Born – Glorify Him!  Khrystos Rоzhdayetsia – Slavite Yoho!