Dear brothers and sisters!
Almost 2000 years ago on a night full of stars Divine love entered the world in a form of a newborn Infant, with all his tenderness, fragility, defenselessness, hope for care and love. Revelations about God testify, that God is love, God is light and there is no darkness in Him. But the world is full of suffering, sin, fear, bitterness, malice and pain. And now in the Bethlehem manger God-infant Christ is born – meek, full of infinite love towards this world, perishing in sin.
After His birth Christ is humbly put on straw by the hands of His Mother in an manger for cattle, as a priceless sacrifice, put upon an altar. He addresses each of us: “Respond! I came to this world for your sake!”
How should we responce?
Gospel speaks of the Magi who came from the East with their gifts. They came from afar, from where people did not know Christ. We also can constantly go to Christ from the darkness of our own soul, from our sinful world, from the gloom of malice, from darkness into light, illuminating our souls with Christian love. Let us go from the gloom of sin to the all-forgiving, all-healing love. From misery and cold of our life let us go to love, for where love is, there are light and joy.
Let us remember the gifts of the Magi: they brought to Christ gold as to the King – thanking Him for the great transfiguring wisdom, which God the Word brought to the world and which we can perceive with our heart, crushed by repentance and humility. The Magi brought to Him frankincense as to the Archpriest – let us bring to Him the fragrance of prayer and love to God and neighbours, shining with light and purity, spreading like a wonderful aroma throughout all earth – sensitiveness, care, warmth.
But the magi also brought myrrh, as to a mortal man. Christ is immortal God, but he was born in order to live and die like a man. To live our life, to die, and rise – so that we could enter into His immortality, His triumphant eternity, through mortification of passions, through subjugation of sinful flesh by fasting and tears.
Having come to Christ and brought gifts to Him the Magi went by another road to a new life with faith in Saviour. In the same way after we have met Christ we should leave our former sinful life, our bad temper and evil habits, should not return to passions which ruin us, that is to go another way, way of faith, repentance and change of soul into good and light, which will bring us to the eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
The one who wants to go along this road to Christ, must deny himself, forget oneself, give one’s life for the sake of those in need of love. We should learn to love, to give our love completely to our neighbour – to the righteous and to the sinner – so that our life become light, warmth and joy! Saint Theodore the Studite in his homily “On the Nativity of the Saviour” writes: “Let us encourage each other to have perfect love and good deeds, obedience, humility, meekness and prosperity in all good things”.
The Lord came to the world to gather all into one by His sacrificial love, to unite brothers in faith into one body of the Church, where one Chalice unites all in the great Mystery of Communion. He passed this power of love to His disciples – Apostles, who, overcoming enmity, hate and malice of people, by the feat of love converted all the world to God, illuminating the ends of the earth by their preaching.
The Lord teaches us love, not the egoistic one, which wants to love only oneself or those who love us, but the love to every person, unhypocritical, concrete, efficient and creative. Love is merciful to all, righteous and sinners, to sinners even more that to righteous. Love cannot see evil in man, divide the surrounding people into kind and evil, bad and good.
Love springs from meekness, humility, chastity, temperance, prayer and other virtues. Today because of the iniquity the love of many became cold. Let us kindle love in ourselves, let us try to give understanding and kindness at least to one person, and then expand this love to all. Then, perhaps, we will understand what is the love of Jesus Christ, which He brought into the world and with which He accepts us.
Let us walk the road of Christ – and we shall see, that we have no enemies among the people, but only lost children of God. God sent us to live together with them and if necessary to die so that they become alive for eternity! Christ gives us a new commandment. It is new for it calls to love not only friends, but enemies as well, to love all and with such a measure of love, which is called lay down one’s life for one’s friends with the prayer on one’s lips: forgive them; for they know not what they do.
Glorifying the appearance of Infant Christ on earth, the Angels proclaimed: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men! (Lk.2:14). The Lord came to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Lk.1:79). In the same way, brothers, let us guard peace in our midst, let us be in peace with God, doing what is pleasing to Him, thanking Him, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (Eph.5:19). And let us not only sing with voice but be in peace with ourselves, subjugating flesh to spirit, choosing the way of life according to our conscience.
Let us be in peace with each other, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another…l against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye (Col.3:13), displaying mercy to each other, for Christ came to us because of His mercy, to keep us from sinful fall by His help and grace and lead us to the path of virtues, into the eternal Kingdom, where we shall be living in heaven (Phil.3:20), enjoying the blessings of paradise as the children of our Heavenly Father.
The feast of Nativity of Christ tells us about the birth of living God of Love in human flesh. Divine Love calls to us: “Forget about yourself, for many around you need your love”. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness, so we should not be afraid of loving, sacrificing ourselves to this love, then Christ will be born in our love. And when Christ incarnated in sacrificial love is born in our soul, we can with joyful confidence say: Christ is born – glorify Him! To Him is the glory, together with the Father and with the Most Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages, amen!