2023 Daily Lenten Journey – Day 27
In the middle of Great Lent, we encounter a totally different experience. The Feast of the Annunciation is the only day a ‘regular’ Liturgy is celebrated during the week. It is a day when fasting is lessoned. It is a day when the Church celebrates, not matter when it occurs.
Growing up Greek in America I was never without my opportunities to share with my friends what makes “us Greeks” different from the rest of the world…but it got a little old explaining why “Greek Easter” was later than everyone else’s Easter. It was refreshing as I got older and began to have a better understanding about what it meant to be Greek in America, and even more refreshing when I finally understood the importance of March 25th – The Annunciation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For many Greeks in America (or Americans of Greek descent as some prefer to be known) March 25th was, and continues to be, the celebration of Greek Independence Day when the mighty Greeks stood up the Ottoman Turks in 1821, as it should be.
But as history teaches us, the Greeks CHOSE March 25th as the official celebration of Greek Independence because that date meant something in their lives – (as Saint Athanasios said) God became man so that man could become divine. The celebration of that “Good News” is celebrated by the entire Christian World on March 25th. There could be no better date to celebrate freedom from the oppressive Ottoman Empire than the same date when we celebrate freedom from the oppressive demons of hell.
For those of us Greeks who gather in Churches and Courthouse stairs to celebrate Greek Independence Day, it is our duty and blessing to share with the world the Good News and hope for ALL generations. In announcing His coming birth, God is announcing our future life with Him in heaven. Just as announcing freedom from the Ottoman Empire signaled hope for a better life for the Greeks, freedom from death and gates of hell signals our hope for our eternal future.