CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM!
For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
My Beloved Spiritual Children,
The Nativity feast that we all anticipate is grounded in the Incarnation of Christ, which is also the central theme of the mystical revelation of God’s mercy. The birth of Christ is the mark of God’s love through which He shows His unmeasurable love for His creation. It is exactly because of the affirmation and fulfillment of the Godly order in the person Lord, Jesus Christ that our hope for renewal of the human condition lives again. During these turbulent times when we are witness to blatant disrespect to human integrity, pride, and dispersion of greed, lack of patience, and manipulation, justification of passions in the name of bigger profit, massive killing, displacement of Biblical proportions, endless wars – Christ, once again, calls us to turn to the source of our hope. The Evangelical message of the Incarnation of the Son of God as pillar of the transfiguration of life.
My Dear Ones in the Lord,
Christ’s act that was initiated in His incarnation, illumines with the message of peace and hope, which are equally valid and meaningful for all generations because they are eternal as is His, Holy Nature. Many centuries prior to Christ’s birth as a child in this world, among other things, the Prophet Isaiah called him Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). Exactly because of this, my beloved, Christ is the source of the eternal peace, and from here, there is no living example or spiritual condition that can shake or smother the peace of those who have Christ as foundation of their hope. Because of this, St. Paul teaches us to focus our thoughts on the noble things whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable —if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. If we do this, the Apostle assures us, if we put aside immoral thoughts, while focusing our mind contemplatively on God’s grace, then the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7-9). And, God’s mercy and will is founded in this: God does not want anyone to be lost, on the contrary, His will is that every being acquires rebirth and obtains life in abundance. It is God’s will that everyone who believes in Christ and asks from Him comfort and shelter, to obtain these. We are given affirmation of this from St. John the Theologian, who says, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16).
My Beloved Children in the Newborn Christ,
There is no news more joyful than that of Christ’s Birth, incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Ever Virgin Mary. Christ gave us a taste of Godly perfection. The long awaited prefiguration of the Old Testament Prophets that a time will come when God will call on His creation and walk among it. St. Apostle Luke in his Gospel noted the blessed words of the Angel of the Lord who delivered the joyful news to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11). In order for joy to be even greater through the incarnation, hope in salvation must be based upon the spiritual code of the human genesis- everlasting and salvific. Those of us who are of Christ, do not receive a limited and outwardly gift, rather we receive Christ Himself; the Source of life. God’s nature is such that through mercy and grace we are illuminedwhen we approach God. When nature becomes one with God, as was the case with Christ’s Incarnation where He voluntarily took on the nature of man, humanity then becomes more like God. Christ, Who is Himself God, Co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spirit, opened the door to a completely different form of existence, as the initial plan for man, because of the fall and sin, was made unobtainable without Christ’s intervention. Do we see the dire need for spiritual admiration, for songs, and unending joy, my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ? Through Christ’s Incarnation, we take part in God. Because He is eternally Blessed, in Him we obtain participation in His eternal nature. Through the same principle that the Eternal Christ became part of our imperfection, we became part of His perfected boundlessness.
My Dear Ones in Christ,
The strength of this mystical cooperation in Christ is found exactly in our free will. This Nativity, let us remember that perfect freedom defeats the fear of death and the insecure minds of this world, and that same freedom only comes from the Lord. From He Who is eternally free. It is exactly the incarnation of Christ, as a mark and statement of the Everlasting Love of God for us as His creation, that is the foundation on which we are able to build such freedom. (1 John 4:17-18). As long as we stand firm in the Gospel Truth, we will be able to be truly free. Only if we are able to firmly walk with Christ, our freedom will be unbreakable. However, like the St. Apostle Peter warns us, Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. (1 Peter 2:16). Because, although All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. (I Corinthians 10:23). Because of this, dear ones, let us utilize the power of illumination that was freely given to us as a priceless Christmas gift so that we may free ourselves from the various internal passions that suffocate and depress our lives, those like: Bitterness, Wrath, Clamor, and Evil speaking, Malice, Deceit, Hypocrisy, Envy, Addiction, Lack of Forgiveness, Greed and the like. (Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8, 1 Peter 2:1). Only through transfiguration of the passions, my beloved, there is salvation from such sinful conditions that curtail our free will and expression, while salvation is exactly in the holy and mysterious unity with Christ our Savior. He did this for us through the Incarnation, paving the road to eternal co-existence with the Lord. Through the establishment of the Holy Mysteries, He enabled a practical and liturgical means to take part and savor in this reality. Just as was written by St. Macarius the Great, miraculous is the mystery of the human soul that receives the Lord and becomes foundation and abode of His Eternal Glory.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Let us celebrate this year’s Nativity and Theophany feasts gratefully for the Lord’s priceless gift in Christ – the Lord’s salvation of our souls. Let us respond to His call and take account of our souls so that they may truly become home to His Glory; a source for His freedom and hope. Let the Nativity Spirit give us motivation to adorn our festal tables with love and thanksgiving, with mercy, and alms to the needy, with spiritual gifts of forgiveness and compassion. May Christ grace our families to feel the joy and optimism of the Incarnation. May God the Father give us His peace and the creative grace to our Macedonian Church Communities, our homeland Republic of Macedonia, The United States of America, Canada, and throughout the world.
May the Lord grant us steadfast faith and love that we may through His strength become voices and workers for peace and hope. In these blessed days of feast, let us remember in prayer and deed, those who suffer and ail who are in captivity, displaced, humiliated, and shunned. Let us raise our prayers like incense to heavens, that together, joyfully with the angels sing: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14)
MAY GOD BLESS YOU
AND GRANT YOU A BLESSED NATIVITY, AND GRANT YOU MANY YEARS!
CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM!
YOUR SPIRITUAL FATHER,
OF THE AMERICAN-CANADIAN
MACEDONIAN ORTHODOX DIOCESE