Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord!
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,hath shined upon the world the light of knowledge…
God has given us to live this year to see the glorious Feast of the Nativity of Christ!
And for this kindness to us from Him, let us thank the Merciful Lord!
The Holy Church prepared us for this feast day with a 40-day fast, while the human race through the Providence of God prepared for it more than 5000 years. In remembrance of this, the Holy Church established the commemoration of the Holy Forefathers two weeks before the great feast day. These Old Testament saints, who did not hear the Gospel of Christ, as we do now, did not know that service, which we now complete in the churches of God. Nor did they have holy baptism, or communion of the Body and Blood of Christ; they did not celebrate our Pascha, and the hope of resurrection did not appear to them as clearly as it does for us, since the coming to earth of the Son of God had not yet occurred, who later bodily suffered, died, and resurrected from the dead.
And here we are now,celebrating the incarnation of what they, the Old Testament saints, anticipated and lived believing in. Immeasurably more has been given and revealed to us, compared to what was revealed and given to them. We see and receive that, which was revealed to them only in images and in prophecies.
And in this day of the Grand and Glorious Celebration, when the sky bows down to the valley and the heavenly host descends to the sinful earth to join us and bow at the wonderful and mysterious cradle, where the Eternal God is swaddled in cloth and lies in the manger, let us bring our hearts as a gift to Christ, the Newly-born God Child.
Truly, the Perfect God and Perfect Man was born of the Virgin in a cave in Bethlehem. May our hearts rejoice and ignite with holy love for Him, as the Lord has come for our salvation. And in this outburst of love, may we also remember our dear departed loved ones, may their graves and souls be illuminated with a peaceful,soft Light - for love does not die.
Congratulations on the Nativity of Christ, dear brothers and sisters and church members!