Christ is born! Let us glorify Him!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ… these holy days of the feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ are filled with such joy and such hope! It is the beginning of a new year, the long nights of winter begin to give way to the growing days of light, and Christ our God is born as a little Child – the beginning of our salvation is at hand!
St John Chrysostom tells us: Do not think it is a small thing when you hear of this birth… but rouse up your mind, and tremble, being told that God has come upon the earth.
God has come upon the earth… we hear this refrain repeated many times in the Vigil of the feast: ‘God is with us!’
What does the presence of God mean for us? How will we respond?
Saint Ephraim the Syrian, one of great Fathers of the Church, reflects in this way upon the Nativity of Christ…
Pure is the present night, in which the Pure One appeared, Who came to purify us! Let our hearing be pure, and the sight of our eyes chaste, and the feeling of the heart holy, and the speech of the mouth sincere!
The present night is the night of reconciliation; therefore, let no one be wroth against his brother and offend him!
This night gave peace to the whole world, and so, let no one threaten. This is the night of the Most Meek One; let no one be cruel!
This is the night of the Humble One; let no one be proud!
Now is the day of joy; let us not take revenge for offences! Now is the day of good will; let us not be harsh. On this day of tranquility, let us not become agitated by anger!
Today God came unto sinners; let not the righteous exalt himself over sinners!
Today the Most Rich One became poor for our sake; let the rich man invite the poor to his table!
Today we received a gift which we did not ask for; let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us and beg!
The present day has opened the door of heaven to our prayers; let us also open our door to those who ask of us forgiveness!
Today the Godhead placed upon Himself the seal of humanity, and humanity has been adorned with the seal of the Godhead!
God, in His compassion and mercy, has come amongst us. He comes not with the blaring of trumpets from on high, but with extreme humility in order to establish us in love rather than fear.
God is with us, brothers and sisters in Christ… but the question we must ask ourselves each and every day, is ‘are we with Him?’
He stands at the door of our heart and knocks. He is everywhere present and fills all things. If only we would stir our heart and mind and soul to perceive the presence of God at all times… then not only would God be with us, but we would be with God.
And being in presence of God, may we find rest for our troubled souls, may we rejoice in gratitude, tremble in repentance, and open our hearts to be filled with His love and warmth and grace. Being in the presence of God, let us set aside our irritability, our selfishness, our lack of love for one another.
God is with us, let us recognize His presence and live our lives in reverence before Him - raising our mind, warming our heart, and taming our will to serve Him and to bring peace and goodwill toward all.