Web Posted December 16, 2014
Encyclicals from Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Protocol Number 239/14
December 25, 2014
The Nativity of Christ
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…. (Isaiah 9:6)
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This holy and blessed Feast of the Nativity of our Lord is a very joyous day that brings us together in worship and praise of our Creator and Redeemer. Today the eternal God enters our humanity for our deliverance from sin, evil and death. Today the infinite wisdom of God is revealed in the birth of the Savior, and the truth of His divine will is made known. Today an enduring promise of peace is established by an infant who is the Prince of Peace and whose name Emmanuel means God is with us. On this day His great love for us is shown as the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
The Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ is a revelation of truth. Today, the brilliance of divine wisdom, the glory of the Lord, and the hope of the Gospel of salvation are revealed. The ancient promise made to Adam and Eve, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and to so many others is fulfilled. All that was foretold by the Prophets has happened. God has become man so that we can be redeemed and restored to blessed communion and abundant life with Him.
The Incarnation is also a revelation of true and eternal peace. Through the birth of Christ, the path of our reconciliation with God is visible. The turmoil caused by sin and despair is met with the calm of the coming of the Prince of Peace. The Theotokos and Joseph find comfort in the eyes of the infant Lord. The shepherds hear the holy angels proclaim Peace on earth! The Magi find assurance in the miraculous sign that leads them to Bethlehem and to the One who fulfills all things.
The Incarnation of Christ is a revelation of love. In offering Himself for our sakes, He becomes the greatest gift. The light of grace reveals God’s compassion for His creation, and the power of grace visible in the child affirms that healing has come. In the newness of life, He has come to lead us from death to life. In the beauty of a child, not by overwhelming force or temporal might, the power of God’s love for us brings unspeakable joy and unquenchable hope!
Our celebration on this glorious Feast of the Nativity affirms this revelation and offers a witness of its power in our lives. Our worship and praise of the Incarnate Lord offers a vibrant witness of truth in a world filled with confusion and deception. Into the darkness and hopelessness that many have found, we proclaim the divine wisdom that guides us to the meaning of our existence and to the true life for which we have been created. Our hearts are filled with peace which we share with others, for our hope has been renewed by our trust in God. We live in the assurance of eternal blessings, and we invite others to come and see all that He has done for us. Finally, our gatherings in parishes and homes, each day and every moment of our lives are filled with His love. As He revealed His great love for us in the birth of our Lord, we reveal divine grace through our faith, our acts of kindness and service, and our generosity to others especially those in need. Our compassion, which leads us to give glory to God in the highest, will lead others to the King of kings, to our Savior who is Christ the Lord!
May you and your communities and families be filled with joy and peace on this blessed Feast as you celebrate the revelation of God in the birth of Christ. While you live in the midst of tremendous challenges and needs, may you also affirm that you live in the presence of our Lord who guides you in sharing the grace and truth that will lead others to Him and to abundance of life.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America