The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ
“What shall we offer you, O Christ, because you have appeared on earth as a man for our sakes? For each of the creatures made by you offers you its thanks: the Angels, their hymn; the heavens, the Star; the Shepherds, their wonder; the Magi, their gifts; the earth, the Cave; the desert, the Manger; and we, a Virgin Mother. God before the ages, have mercy on us,” (Vespers of the Nativity).
As we celebrate once again this year the feast of the Nativity of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, let us not allow the joy of the season to be removed from our hearts. Many things in the world today conspire to take the joy of Christmas away from us: the commercialism of the Christmas season, the greed and excess that emphasize receiving over giving, the distance that so many of us have these days from our family and friends. Let us never allow these unfortunate things to distract us from the true meaning and purpose of Christmas. God is with us! Emmanuel has come to us! At Christmas we celebrate first and foremost the love of God that could not bear to be apart from his beloved creation.
The holiday of Christmas is known mainly as a day of gift-giving. This is not accidental. At Jesus's birth, all of creation bent its knee to offer gifts to our Lord who was born for us. As the magi offer their gold, frankincense, and myrrh, so too does the earth offer its shelter, the heavens offer their illumination, and the angels offer their song of praise. To this day, all of the Herods of this world try to take the joy of Christ away from us. Let our gift to our Lord Jesus Christ be our own hearts, filled with joy, filled with peace, filled with wonder.
Καλά Χριστούγεννα! Merry Christmas to all of you!