The Feast of the Prophet Daniel and the Three Holy Children has always been closely connected with Christmas. Proper for them are found on the two Sunday before Christmas and today we sing, “Come, O faithful, let us celebrate the fore-feast of the birth of Christ; offering a spiritual canticle by way of a star. Let us join the Magi and shepherds in their hymns of praise: Behold, the Savior has come from a virgin’s womb to call back to himself the whole human race.” Perhaps this was because Daniel foresaw the incarnation of the Word. He foresaw the coming of the Son of Man as a “stone unhewn by human hands,” fulfilled in the virgin birth which as a spiritual kingdom would destroy all worldly might, “whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and whose kingdom endures through all generations, (Daniel 4:31)” and again, I saw coming with the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man. When he reached the Ancient of Days and was presented before him, he received dominion, splendor, and kingship; all nations, peoples and tongues will serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)”
The three children, likewise, survived the burning furnace, and there was a fourth man standing in the flames, who protected them.” The burning fire represented the womb of the virgin, not burnt by the fire of the Godhead borne by her. Our Lord came to baptize us in the Spirit and fire.
Just as the fire did not harm the three youths, so that fire of baptism does not “harm” us, but purifies us and gives us life, for in it we find life in the Trinity. Like Daniel, the “man of desires” so we long intensely for the appearance of Christ our Savior.
Happy name day to all named Daniel, Danielle or Daniella!
Meditation by Archpriest David Petras