Dear beloved in the Lord!
Today the heavens and earth celebrate as one the Birth of our Savior. “What riches of riches! What is this mystery for my sake!,” St. Gregory the Theologian exclaims in awe, “I received the image of God but did not preserve it. He takes on my form to save that image and to make that form eternal.”
St. Macarius of Egypt proclaims, “Having created the body and soul, He comes nigh and destroys all disorder created by the Evil One, whose works brought forth in thoughts are cleansed, given a heavenly image and a new soul is created…The true redeemer, Christ, enters the heart of the soul and brings it out of dark Egypt, out from under the most difficult yoke, from the most sorrowful enslavement.” (Discourse 11:6)
Dear brothers and sisters! The incarnation of the Son of God “of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary” fundamentally altered the life of mankind. It gave people strength to battle sin, to make peace with God, to become sons and daughters of the Father and renewed their very being. From this moment on the Creator became close to His creation for eternity. Thus renewed, mankind set out on a course to perfect itself and comprehend the mysteries and understand what is Truth and how to live one’s life.
The Holy Church in its hymns and festal chants during the services calls the Nativity of Christ a mystery. The incarnation of the Son of God is revealed to mankind by God, as “on this day God descended to earth and lifted mankind to the heavens.” The Church calls the coming of Christ the Savior “a great and most holy miracle,” as “the Virgin gives birth to the Creator of us all” and the day “resolves the judgment of Adam and opens paradise to us.” Henceforth, “Christ will reign for eternity!”
Dear beloved in the Lord! As we exalt Christ Born in Bethlehem, may we join with the Magi and the shepherds to bow down before Him. May each of us bend our knees in trembling and with a deep absolute faith may we bring gifts, as St. John Chrysostom said, that are more precious than those of the Magi. “They brought gold, you bring chastity and virtue; they brought frankincense, you bring the spiritual fragrance of sincere prayer; they brought myrrh, you bring humility and a heart that is contrite and charitable…”
From my whole soul, I congratulate you dear fathers, brothers and sisters with the feast day of the Nativity of Christ. May the Christ-child give us the opportunity to relish the spiritually rewarding joy of this salvific day. May the light of reason, which came into this world with the Savior, never abandon us. May it help us order our lives to achieve salvation and overcome all the temptations and seducements of this age. May the heavenly joy fill our souls, warm our hearts and remind each of us that the true life is life with God and in God. Amen.
Bishop of Bolgrad and Belgorod-Dnestrovsk
Nativity of Christ 20102011