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Archbishop Elpidophoros of America Greetings to the Philadelphia Region Christmas Show

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

Greetings to the Philadelphia Region Christmas Show

Saint Thomas Greek Orthodox Church

Cherry Hill, New Jersey

December 13, 2021

 

Beloved Children in the Lord,

I address all of you as children, because if there was ever a time for us to feel and remember the joys of childhood, it is this holiday season that surrounds the Feast of Christmas.

I am so very pleased to begin our series of Christmas Shows here at Saint Thomas, because I know this is a family-oriented parish with great love for the little ones among us.

Though their poems, presentations and songs, our children will remind us what it is to be enthralled by the Christmas spirit. For Christmas is, above all else, the Feast of the Christ Child – the vulnerable infant who was cradled in His Mother’s arms for our salvation.

It is, perhaps, our most sentimental Feast. And I do not say, “sentimental,” in a diminishing way. For sentiment is feeling, and the same way that we love our own children, God loves every human person. Christmas gathers us as a community in a spirit of love that is so special even our secular world embraces the symbols, signs and music of the season.

As Greek Orthodox Christians, we have our own special traditions and observances that are different from our neighbors. But we enfold into our homes and parishes so much of what we find around us: from Christmas trees to poinsettias, and from Christmas cookies to nursery rhymes about old Saint Nick.

Tonight, though, let us look at our holidays through the eyes of our precious children. Let us listen to their voices and hear once again the marvelous wonder that the Shepherds experienced when the Heavenly Host appeared and cried in unison:

Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις Θεῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη, ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία.

Glory to God in the highest, and peace upon earth, good will among all people. [1]

Let us travel with them to the Cave in Bethlehem of Judea, and behold with the eyes of our hearts the Christ Child, Who is inside each and every one of us.

This world can be a harsh – even ravenous place. But as promised in the prophecy of Isaiah:

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. [2]

Brothers and Sisters, fellow Children of the Lord,

Now, let us allow our children to lead us. Let us give them our attention as well as our love. And let us listen and watch, as they bring us along the road to Bethlehem, where we will find the Lord Jesus Christ awaiting us in the cave of our hearts.

 

[1] Luke 2:14.

[2] Isaiah 11:6.