Church of the T.O.C. of Greece
F E S T A L M E S S A G E
Of His Beatitude Archbishop
kyk kyr NIKOLAOS
to the True Orthodox Christians
Wherever They May Be.
HOLY NATIVITY, 2006
Children Beloved in the Lord:
Today on the 25th of December, we once again celebrate the Incarnation of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. Indeed, we celebrate His taking on of humanity, not only that we might remember the true Redemptive event of our Lord's Birth according to the flesh for all of mankind, but that we might ourselves experience this event which is such an important milestone in our lives. And it is an important milestone because with the Birth of Christ "Heaven and earth are today united, Christ having been born. Today God hath come to earth, and man hath ascended to heaven." With the Birth of Christ, not only is human nature renewed, but also that of the entire visible and invisible creation.
Today, as we celebrate the Birth of Christ, we stand before a great and paradoxical mystery. A mystery that is unique, never again to be repeated, about which the melodist chants, "I behold a strange and paradoxical mysteryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦" This event is strange because the humble cave in which the Lord deigned to be born was shown forth to be a lofty and luminous heaven; it is strange because the holy Virgin was shown forth to be a cherubic Throne having been made worthy to bear in her womb and to hold in her embrace "Him Who sits upon the Cherubim." At the same time the unremarkable manger that became a place where the Divine Infant reclined was deemed worthy to become the vessel that contained "the Lord, Whom nothing can contain." During the Birth of our Lord, an unearthly light bathed the scene round about, while a legion of angels ascended and descended from the heavens chanting, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth Peace, Good will towards men," and the angels chanted a doxology to the divine Infant.
Christ is He Who came to earth to bring love and peace. Indeed, it is He Himself Who is Himself Love and Peace. It is He Who crushed and continues to crush the battlement of disobedience of the First-formed Adam and Eve and the wall of enmity. It is He Who came to fulfill the expectation of mankind for our salvation. It is He Who through His divine incarnation became the first-fruits of our salvation. He Who is the Son and Word of God, of one essence and co-eternal with the Father, and Who, because of His surpassing love towards us, became perfect man that He might re-form our nature, deformed by disobedience, and lead us in our journey toward our spiritual and moral perfection, that is, to lead us from being "according to the image," to "according to the likeness."
He came therefore as Good Will; He came therefore as Reconciliation and as Peace unto mankind that He might heal us from sin and death. He came as Light and Truth, that He might put to flight the darkness and the lies of the devil. He came as Protector that He might help us freely to choose that which is good. He came as Intercessor that He might unite us to God, as well as to one another.
It is unfortunate that, after over 2006 years, today's mankind continues to be found in a state of constant warfare, spilling rivers of blood. It is unfortunate that he has not found the road to peace or to love, but continues agonizingly to seek the path to reconciliation. Today's humanity has become anthropocentric (man-centered), measuring and judging all things by the measure of happiness.
In the midst of today's reality, therefore, the message of the Divine Incarnation becomes all the more contemporary. It is a message of hope. It is a message of return to Christ. It is a message of joy. Therefore does the Hymn-writer of our Church sing upon this holy Feast, and we should sing along with him, "Christ is born; glorify ye Him; Christ from the heavens, meet ye Him; Christ upon the earth, be ye exalted!," as we ourselves become humble pilgrims venerating Christ Who became an infant for our sakes.
St. John Chrysostomos glorifies this day saying, "Come let us all keep festival; let us all rejoice, for today is the ancient bond sundered; today is the devil put to shame; the demons are put to flight; death is dissolved; paradise is opened again; the curse hath vanished; sin is trampled underfoot; error hath been exiled; truth hath returned, and the preaching of piety hath run and been seeded abroad; the heavenly mode of life hath been planted upon the earth; angels and men converse, and men speak with angels without shame."
Wherefore, living as the Apostles have taught us, and following in the footsteps of the holy Fathers, let us work tirelessly for the glory of Christ, loving one another as He hath loved us first. Let us be peaceful toward God by moderation, working that which is true, and doing what is righteous, so that the angelic song might echo within us, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace, good will towards men." Let us experience the spirit of the Holy Nativity, praying for the salvation of the whole world.
May the grace of our Incarnate Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, as well as my humble blessings and those of the Most Reverend Bishops with me be with you all. Amen.
Your fervent intercessor
before the Lord,
of Athens and All Greecehttp://euphrosynoscafe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7507