Nativity Encyclical 2012

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

During these blessed days wherein we celebrate the feast of the Nativity, we hear the Kontakion with its strange and marvelous message:

"On this day the Virgin beareth the Transcendent in essence; to the Unapproachable, the earth doth offer a small cave; Angels join in choir with shepherds in giving glory; with a star the Magi travel upon their journey; for our sakes is born a young Child, He that existed before the ages as God."

The world had grown old in sin and as Saint Paul said, “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we should receive the adoption of sons” (Gal 4:4-5).

All mankind has been called to this gift of adoption, yet “the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:3-5)

We look around us and society has, for the most part rejected this Divine call to adoption. The culture in North America in times past looked to the Old and New Testament and the Christian message according to its own interpretation. Presently, society is being engulfed by the ever-expanding darkness of all of the various "isms," beginning with atheist humanism that seeks to replace Christ with the worship of man. For the atheist humanist, God is dead or never existed and man is the measure of all things. The rulers and those who set policy today are increasingly hostile to the Christian worldview. There are many signs that we have entered into the last times wherein, as predicted by our Savior, there will be many personality cults and false christs.

Yet, we as Orthodox Christians have great cause to rejoice. We worship the singular Christ, God the Word, Who put on our nature and was born a man, the God-Man, in Bethlehem so that we may be united to Him. Where there is uncertainty around us, we have been given God knowledge. Where there is purposelessness around us, we know the reason for our existence. Where there is despair and hopelessness, we have the sure promises of our Savior to raise us up.

Now more than ever, we all must seek the light of Christ with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength and all our mind.

The light of Christ shines in the Church of Christ. As much as possible, cling to the liturgical cycle of the feasts of the Church. Let the celebrations of the Church be your celebrations. Let the songs of the Church, be your songs. The angels appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem and chanted, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace goodwill towards men.” Because of the birth of the God-Man, we have reason to rejoice each and every day of our life. Rejoice in the Lord, and do not allow yourselves to be immersed in the entertainment culture to the detriment of your spiritual life. Give glory to God and sagaciously offer to Him the first fruits of your labors for spiritual things. Do all things as walking in the presence of God, not as men pleasers, but working heartily as for God and not for men. (Eph 6:7)

The light of Christ shines in each Orthodox Christian household. Beloved Orthodox Christians, you are of the household of God, you are the tribe of Israel of the New Covenant. This is your identity. As much as possible, encourage, guide and lead your families in the life of Christ. Let the stories of the marvelous love of God and the deeds of the saints be part of your daily conversation. The surrounding secular humanist culture invades all of our lives. It is essential each one of us strives deliberately and consciously to preserve our Orthodox culture within each home. The spiritual survival of our children depends on this.

The light of Christ shines in each of our hearts. Turn your gaze to the mystery of God’s love for us. With the fear of God, faith and love, ponder these mysteries. We stand before the manger and we contemplate the mystery of the Eternal One Who put on flesh that He might give us of His own Flesh, in the Mystery of the Eucharist, the medicine of immortality and the antidote of death. We are nothing without our Christ, but if we are united to him, we become immortal. Cleave and cling to the remembrance of these things.

“For our sakes is born a young Child, He Who existed before the ages as God.” Rejoice evermore and may Christ the God-Man bless you and your families in this life and in the age to come.

Glory to God in the Highest!

Your fervent suppliant unto the Lord,

+Moses, of Toronto

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