Tuesday, December 25, 2012



  The Nativity of Jesus Christ in the flesh, who was born like each of us as a helpless infant, is now manifest to all.  The All-powerful and All-knowing God and Creator of all, becomes a babe under most humble circumstances. God is in perfect union with man and man is in perfect union with God.  He rose upon the world, lowly and needing care, but also as the brilliant eternal  moral light radiating  from the manger, to all those who visit Him in spirit in Bethlehem.  What appears to be a helpless baby, just by His birth brings peace and joy, illuminating the souls of those dwelling in darkness – the terrible darkness of sin and passions. This light from the infant Christ transforms  the hearts of men, and brings softness and humility with repentance and  amazement, for this event is new and has never happened before. The shepherds were filled with exultation on seeing the heavens opened,  They were afraid at the beauty and the angelic choir singing to them these glad tidings: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord; and this shall be a sign to you: You shall find the babe in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” . And suddenly there was, with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly hosts  praising God, and saying:  Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and good will among men”       (Luke 2:10-14)
  Those who are sitting in the darkness of ignorance, have become able  to enter a newness of life, a glorious  life, a life filled with happiness and divine joy,  but only when they respond and accept that light.  The light radiating is  not like the light of the sun. While the light of the sun helps men to live orderly, perform work and many tasks, and when darkness comes, man cannot usually work,
but the light shining from the manger is  moral light, which causes man to see where he is going and what  he is doing in relation to God and men. It is the light that enlightens free beings to function according to God’s moral law.  For the human race, the moral light is more necessary and much more important than the sun. Moral light dispels moral darkness, which is every evil thought and action that men receive from the Devil and his minions; moral darkness is the pit of all the evil in the world, for it is the domain of the Evil One. Moral life enables men to see other men and to live an angelic life among, a life of peace, mutual friendship and love.

   Returning to the cave in Bethlehem, we see the Virgin amazed with the magnificence and the splendor of what has happened and whom she mothered, for she holds in her arms her Creator and God, in a body that came from her womb. This little baby is truly God, but this Blessed Virgin is truly Mother who was chosen of God, and she who is blessed among women,  we honor and magnify in hymns and songs, for she is also the wonder of the human race.  She cuddles Him in her arms and offers him her breast for milk!  These are wonderful events!  This same infant will grow up and fill the world with His divine grace, peace and love.  For He is God who holds the whole world in His hands, and who nourishes and supplies food and  water to the entire planet of earth, yet He appears in her arms as a helpless child. Joseph, having seen   this event stands amazed and in awe at the responsibility he undertook as her betrothed,  protector and companion.

 All those who willingly  go up to Bethlehem, upon seeing  the true Christ, adore Him and fall down at His feet in repentance, then with tears of thanksgiving, they rejoice, knowing that this infant has come into the world to lead them into heaven, where the Saints dwell, and everlasting life.  This babe who we see in the manger is the Savior and Creator and the Life of each of us.  Seeing His beautiful and wise Mother, the Full of Grace, whom we honor with hymns and song, for she is the way God came down to us on earth,  and is  the ladder which  will bring us up to heaven.

 Taking part in the ascension to spiritual Bethlehem, should  become one of the greatest events in our lives,  unlike so many human events that concern others, this is very personal, and concerns ourselves and our personal  salvation and destiny. We don’t declare, but ask, will I be saved? The Child says, yes that is my reason for being born. Later, when He is teaching, we ask, Will I be saved? He answers, Yes, if you keep all my commandments. At the Cross, asking the same question, Will I be saved? Christ answers, yes for this reason I am being crucified.  After the Resurrection, the question changes: Will I  be resurrected also? The glorious resurrected Christ replies: Yes, for I am risen, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tomb bestowing life. Indeed death has been put to death and Christ has added eternal; life to our lives.

 Our life’s activity is controlled mostly by our  thoughts, for every action, good or evil, is preceded by some thought related to it. Having evil thoughts will promote evil actions, while having good thoughts will promote good  actions.  But as we look upon the newborn Christ, let us acquire all the good thoughts possible.  Every part of the life of Jesus Christ, as  revealed to us is of utmost importance.  His birth as an infant from the Virgin Mother was necessary, for God could not save man without himself becoming man. Every minute of his life since he entered the Virgin’s womb, is of the utmost importance, for God has come to us wretched ones to deliver us from our sins and transgressions against Him, and whenever we sin against others, we also sin  against God, as David says: “Against you only have I sinned and done this evil in your sight.”

   Because of His justice, God could not save,  nor could a man save man; and man because he accepted the serpent’s deceit, remains in a bellicose state separated him from God. God was not angry as the theologians of the West have claimed.  Because this matter concerns the  justice of God, that necessarily must fulfill the requirements of the law, which in Adam and Eve’s case was death.  Justice can do no more nor less, for the law states “On the day that you shall eat you will surely die.”  However, even  though he sinned,  God  would not destroy man, for He has a plan. That is why the death sentence is not destruction or  a real punishment but a remedy, and  because God knows all that would take place, He will  restore each of us in the resurrection.

 God’s plan to create man in His own image and likeness will always go as  He planned , and this process is constantly taking place somewhere in the world. For this reason, in the true Church,  we continuously hear of new Saints.  These saints are ordinary men, but by struggling,  and being strengthened by  the Holy Mysteries,   such men become the image and likeness of God.  They rejoice greatly for  having cooperated to fulfill God’s plan, and by  becoming sinless and perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect, which is the true destination of everyman on earth.

  However, the first man in the perfect image and likeness of God is the newborn babe lying in the manger, the sinless Christ. This Child having been born of God could never sin in any way. Because He is born of God, death cannot hold Him, and  He has authority over death. However, death does have power over sinful man, because he continuously listens to the Evil one and ignores God, and  must pay the penalty, which is death, which is inescapable.  Christ  solves the problem of death by himself accepting the death penalty which all men deserve, and bearing all their sins and transgressions up with Him on the Cross. In this way, He releases into complete freedom, all men who believe and are baptized in the true Church by the true Baptism. “If the Son shall set you free, you will really be free.”

  How would Christ destroy the power of death hovering over man?  This task actually begins on this wondrous day of the Nativity! He will become a man exactly like us, except for sin, and he will grow to manhood and wage war against the Devil, not as a warrior, but as the all-powerful God which make the demons tremble.  Even while in His infancy and early childhood he waged war against our enemy, for in Egypt, the idols fell in His presence. Listen to the inimical demons begging Him: “Let us go into the pigs,”  “Have you come to torment us before our time?”  These same demons who frighten sinless man, are terrified of  Christ, for He is sinless, and they became powerless before Him. The trap which Christ set to destroy the authority of the Devil and demons,  was the Cross and His being crucified upon it. For when the Devil put the innocent Christ to death, he broke the law and lost his authority. The law says:  What you take away unjustly must be restored four-fold.  Taking Christ’s life was the fatal error of the Evil one, who had derived his authority by deceit and slander for he was left  powerless as a transgressor of the law of God.

 The infant Christ in tomb, will proceed to crucifixion on the Cross where His final work will be accomplished by His death.   He announced the end of His work, when He victoriously cried out from the Cross: “It (my work) is completed!”  Then He willed to  die,  first He bowing His head, and then He giving  up His spirit.  In the True Church, we do not mourn for Christ dying on the Cross,  for by His death He destroyed the power of death, and saves us from eternal fire;  we do weep but only weep for our sins which contributed to His being crucified.   We  rejoice  in what He has done for us, and so  we sing hymns of praise with joy:

   “Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ, let us bow down before the Holy Lord Jesus, the only sinless one.  We venerate your Cross O Christ, and we praise and glorify your Resurrection, for you are our God, we know no other than you and we call upon your name. Come all you faithful, let us bow down before Christ’s holy Resurrection, for behold, through the Cross joy has come into the world. Ever blessing the Lord, let us praise His Resurrection. For by enduring the Cross for us, He has trampled down death by death” (Sunday Orthos).

  All the evils of the world have a singular source which is the Devil, Satan, the Dragon, Serpent and Evil one. Lies, thefts, fornication, adultery, murder, massacre, all have the same source. Yet in himself  he has no power. The Devil’s authority and power depends  on mankind to be activated, and without man’s cooperation, he is helpless.  As soon as each of us stop listening to the Devil, and listen to Jesus Christ, some evils will decrease, and if enough people leave the Devil’s authority,  even crime and  wars will decrease and eventually cease.  Then there will be true peace on earth and good will among men. There is no other way to have peace on earth for Christ is the peace of the whole world! .

    Men  talk much about peace as they prepare for war, because  peace to such men means conquering the other and thus bringing about a cessation of hostilities which they call peace. However we know from experience, that wars do not end in this manner. After World War I, November 11 was celebrated not as a negotiated peace but as Armistice Day! Such a day agrees with what we have  written, for the word armistice” means: “a temporary cessation of hostilities”.  Men  arm and build up their power until they are ready, then they find a means of provocation. The peace of the world has nothing to do with the peace that Christ bestows.

 The angels who appeared to the shepherds, declare the joyful solution to all war, and restore peace between us and God: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will among men.”  Let us return to the manger, and look once more at our peace, our life, our happiness, our joy and our salvation, for having  responded to the proclamation of the angels: “Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to you and to all people,” our joy has become eternal and complete!

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Questions Answered
A calendar question.  Does heaven celebrate Christmas on the old or new calendar?

A.  There are no clocks or calendars in the kingdom of heaven.Eternity is a single endless day without darkness or death. The right time or date without correct Orthodox practice and dogmas and canons do not lead to salvation St. John Chrysostom teaches us thet we need both correct dogma and correct life..
Which Christmas icons are done improperly, contradicting truth?

A. Icons that show the Virgin lying down as if exhausted, Joseph being tempted by the Defil, the Christ Child being washed.  So these ought not to be in icons, as icons should speak the truth not opinions    
Why the magi should not be shown at Christmas, according to Scripture?

A. The magi did not go to the manger in the cave, because Joseph and Mary were in a house when they came.  "When they came to the house" says Scripture

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