Christmas is approaching and Christians all the world will be preparing themselves for the celebration of the «great and paradoxical mystery», which is the incarnation of the Only-begotten Son of God for our salvation and for the reconciliation of man with his Creator. Christmas remains a mystery for those who live outside the Church and beyond the Christian Faith. For this reason, in the service on the Sunday before the Feast of Christmas the Church reads the Epistle to the Hebrews, written by the great missionary and Apostle, St. Paul. In both the chapter and throughout the Epistle, he reminds the Jewish people about their forefathers; More particularly about Abraham and all the Patriarchs, who by faith and in obedience to God, had accomplished great miracles and victories over those who were against them. Having faith in the promises and the authority of God, they lived like strangers in this world, because they believed that God would never fail in his words and his promise. Abraham and all his descendants in faith «For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God»
Then he goes on to praise all those people who were not saints. They had many shortcomings and weaknesses; Nevertheless, they had a sound and healthy faith in God. And so, they never questioned the truthfulness of his promise not were they troubled by them, as the psalmist points out, «that you may be justified in your words and win when you are judged».
Therefore they remained steadfast and continued to entrust themselves and their life and deeds, in the hope that Almighty God, would support them and not forget them. Many of them did things, which were otherwise impossible for the human mind. As St. Paul says, admiring what they did in their life: «And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions».
Not only did they perform great deed and actions in this earthly life, but they also Endured many human afflictions and sufferings imposed on them by those who where against God, and who wanted to impose their sinful will on them. For this reason, they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tempted and they were slain with the sword. They suffered unbelievable hardship and oppression, and the «world was not worthy» of such sacrifices. Nevertheless, with patience and deep faith and valor they endured them, because they had faith in Him, who made them true promises. Promises that He is strong, that He is holy and that He is trustworthy. Yet they died with the promises unfulfilled in their time. This promise was the coming of Christ. He was the fulfillment of the promises; He was the leader of peace and justice.
Therefore, we the contemporary faithful celebrate this great, unique event once again. That is to say, we celebrate the realization of the promises of God. He sent his Only-begotten and beloved son, in the form and image of a man, to bring the Good News, to create a new heaven and a new earth, to bridge the spiritual gap between man and God, and between men of God who are ready to place themselves under the light yoke of our Lord Jesus Christ, «who for our sake and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man» to save us and lead us to the Kingdom of God. Bearing all this in mind, let us give glory to the Triune God for His mercy and let us renew our trust to Him, who not only humbled himself, but made us communicants of «the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints». [Col. 1:26].
At this festive time we celebrate this wonderful and great mystery, in the expectation that Christ will never abandon us, will never allow evil to prevail, will never forget us, but that he will always be with us, to bless us, to grant us peace and all the spiritual and material means that we may become like the holy men and women of the Old Testament, faithful to His promises. To Him belong all glory and honor, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
With love in Christ,
Θα γιορτάσουμε σε λίγες εβδομάδες, τον ερχομό του Βασιλέως της ειρήνης, του Χριστού, σε τούτη την ταλαίπωρη γη, που περνάει κρίσιμες στιγμές.
Ας ελπίσουμε όμως, πως η σύνεσις θα βασιλέψει και πως το χαμόγελο της ειρήνης, θα αρχίσει να ροδίζει πάλι στα χείλη του κόσμου.
Ας γονατίσουμε μπροστά στη φάτνη σαν τους ταπεινούς και άσημους τσοπάνηδες της Βηθλεέμ, και από τα βάθη της ψυχής μας, όσο το δυνατό πιο καθαρής, ας ψάλλουμε τον ουράνιο ύμνο της ειρήνης, που εδώ και δυο χιλιάδες χρόνια, έψαλλαν οι άγγελοι του Θεού στη Γέννηση του Σωτήρα του κόσμου.
Με δάκρυα στα μάτια, ας ζητήσουμε από τον Κύριο να μας δώσει τη δύναμη να ζήσουμε ταπεινά, χωρίς να μας θαμπώσει ο χρυσός και ο άργυρος και η δόξα. Να ζήσουμε μια ζωή σαν τη δική Του: ταπεινή, αγιασμένη, γεμάτη ευσπλαχνία, να τρέξουμε στη χήρα, στον πονεμένο, στον φτωχό, στον κατατρεγμένο, στο ορφανό, στον δυστυχισμένο, στον αδύνατο, έτοιμοι να δώσουμε χέρι βοηθείας και συμπαραστάσεως, σε όποιον έχει ανάγκη. Να δώσουμε, να προσφέρουμε από εκείνα που Εκείνος μας έδωσε τόσο πλούσια, ώστε και ο αδύνατος και ο άρρωστος και εκείνος που έχει ανάγκη να αισθανθεί τη χαρά των Χριστουγέννων, το μεγαλείο και την σημασία της μεγάλης αυτής γιορτής.
Ζούμε σε δύσκολες μέρες. Ας προσευχόμαστε να καλυτερέψουν τα πράγματα. Και θα καλυτερέψουν και θα φυσήξει καλός αέρας, όταν συ και γω γίνουμε καλύτεροι, πιο πονετικοί, πιο μαλακοί, πιο αγαπημένοι, στο όνομα Εκείνου που έρχεται να σκορπίσει χαρά και αγάπη και ειρήνη.
Καλά και ευλογημένα Χριστούγεννα.
Με αγάπη Χριστού,