Christ is Born! Let us glorify Him!
Христос Раждается! Славим Его! Христос рождається — славімо Його!
I cordially greet you dear fathers, brothers and sisters in the Lord with the Holy Day of the Nativity of Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ and the New 2012 Year!
The Nativity of Christ – is that silent and holy night, in which our hearts beat a bit stronger. Our hearts are excited for they feel that Someone is knocking in them, the Someone Who is very important and desired, and Who wants to enter and abide in our hearts. At the same time, at first glance, everything in nature is silent, our lands are immersed in a winter sleep. Only the evergreen tree continues to display its beauty in its green garb. It reminds us that even those things that have died, we and all of God’s creation, continue to live!
The Christmas Tree, shining with its tender snowflakes and bright light, is the victorious symbol which shows us the way to existence in an eternal and beautiful life in God! But in reality, like us, nature does not sleep on this night but quietly greets its Creator and Ruler. It rejoices because God, for unity with man, was reincarnated into man’s form.
“In the icon of the Nativity the land is not smooth and flat, no, it is full of movement” wrote the Russian monk, icon painter Gregory (Krug) of France, in his famous book “Thoughts about the Icon”. “And this hilly, rugged face of the earth does not only represent the local landscape around Bethlehem… The land recognized the day of the visit and responded to Christ and became alive as does dough – it began to rise because it began to feel in itself the leaven of eternal life. And those waves and projections of the land surrounding the manger are not barren but full of excited and joyful movement”.
We will arise in the New Year as a new creation of God – a new people in the image of Our Creator! The Church calls us to a renewed life through repentence in the clear language of the Epistles of the Apostle Paul: “Shed the old way of life as old used clothing, put on new clothes; shed your sins and put on the new garb of righteousness and holiness, which the Lord can give you”. (Ephesians 4, 22-24)
Like the Earth, which brought the manger as a gift to the “Unapproachable One” (from the Kontakion of the Holy Day), we will give the Newborn Christ our cleansed and shiny heart! May our hearts and minds, lips and eyes, hands and feet, our families and homes, farms and fields, everything which lives on Earth, even the rocks and water, on hearing the good news: “Christ is born!” joyfully and anew gratefully respond: “We always glorify Him!”
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Cordial greetings and prayers for all of you,
Unworthy +Iov, Bishop of Kashira, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Canada
The Nativity of Christ *Dec 25, 2011/Jan 7, 2012