December 25, 2016 - A Nativity Message From Our Pastor
A Nativity Message From Our Pastor!
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Christos Rozdajetsja! Slavite Jeho!
Christos Yehnateh! Doxa Sathe!
“And He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Father of all time, Prince of Peace: for God is with us!” (Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord)
Dearly Beloved in the New-Born King!
On this radiant Feast of our Lord’s Nativity, we enter into the divine mystery of our Lord’s coming to us in the flesh! This “Wonderful, Counselor, Father of all time, Prince of Peace…” comes to the earth. This, my dearly beloved, in not some ordinary messenger; it is the Only-Begotten Son of God Himself, the New-Born King who lays in the Cave of Bethlehem! And He brings peace to all men. “Peace be to you!” He said more than once to His disciples. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…” He says to the apostles at the Mystical Supper, “not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) And appearing after His Holy Resurrection, again He says: “Peace be to you!” “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation...” the holy Apostle Paul says. God came to earth, “that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the Cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father!” (Ephesians 2: 14, 16-18).
The wall that once separated heaven and earth is now destroyed; the angel carrying a fiery sword, that God sent to bar the way to the Tree of Life in the Garden, now disappears. The Creator Himself now comes to the man, who had sinned, calling him into His warm, loving embrace! By the mouths of the apostles, the Holy Spirit cries out: “In Christ, you are reconciled to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:20) The great mystery is such: it is not we who have come to God, but the Son of God came to us! He now calls everyone to Himself; He gives forgiveness to everyone who merely thirsts for this gracious gift! We must realize that without our sincere desire and at least his little effort, God’s peace cannot be with us. The Lord forces no one to come to Him, He but gently calls everyone: “Come to Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Come all you who are heavy laden with sins, who are exhausted from your labors and who do not find rest any-where else in this world! You shall find that inner peace and joy that will permeate your heart and soul!
The Magi experienced that peace and joy when they worshipped the Christ Child; the shepherds felt it when they came to the manger in Bethlehem. But neither peace or joy touched the heart of King Herod and those who wanted, like him, to destroy the Babe. For evil desire and malice are in-compatible with inner peace. And it is noteworthy to state that if you do not receive inner peace from Christ, then you will sow strife and malice within your heart and the world around you!
The Holy Mother Church calls upon all of her children to meet the Eternal God, who has come down from Heaven. The questions may be asked, “What can we do in order to meet the Infant Messiah like the Magi and the Shepherds, and not follow the way of the evil King Herod?” The Psalmist provides us the answer: “Who is the man that desires life...that he may see good? Keep your tongue from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it!” (Psalm 34: 12,13) However, it is difficult for us to accomplish this because of our human weakness when doing good. But the Son of God Himself came in order to strengthen us.
This is one of the reasons for His birth in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread.” Our Lord becomes “bread” for us and feeds us with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist this Nativity morn. The God, the Lord and Saviour of all, as a babe in the flesh, is worshipped in a poor manger, crying out: “come now, eat My Body and through faith and be made steadfast!”
These words of the Infant Saviour are directed toward us! Let us now hearken to His saving call! Now strengthened through Him, let us follow the Magi; let us hasten with the shepherds. Our Church is now the Cave in Bethlehem. It is no illusion, but it is a reality, because He Who Is, is now being born in His most pure flesh, rests among us! Come, let us worship the New Born King; let us offer as a gift our thoughts, hopes and desires; let us confess our sins, and let us taste of His immaculate Body and Blood provided at the Nativity Divine Liturgy!
If we were not able to accomplish this earlier because of our human weakness, let us accomplish it now, while the star of Bethlehem is shining! Our minds will be enlightened and our hearts will be filled with unspeakable joy! And our ears will hear the sacred song of the angels, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will among men!” (Luke 2:14).
My most sincere prayer today is that you may experience, within the depth of your hearts, the love, peace, and joy that proceeds from the New Morn Saviour, from the Cave in Bethlehem! For truly, God is with Us!
Devotedly yours in the New Born Saviour,
Father Kenneth M. Bachofsky