Christmas is upon us and it is a time for celebration across the entire world. Christmas is a day for us all to celebrate the coming of our Savior, Jesus who was born to the Virgin Theotokos nearly two thousand years ago. We don’t only come to give thanks, we come to glorify the King of all Heaven and Earth. Better than any gift that money could buy, the coming of Jesus ushered in a new era of human history in which God humbled Himself by becoming human, and thus lifted up humanity from the shackles of our sin that had kept us apart from our Creator.
Saint John Chrysostom gave his famous Nativity Sermon over sixteen hundred years ago, but his words which were filled with the Holy Spirit remain as true to us today as they were to his flock all those years ago.
“The Ancient of days has become an infant. He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger. And He Who cannot be touched, Who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infants bands. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness.
For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit that He may save me.
Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been implanted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels. “
The modern age has attempted to subvert the message of Christmas into being a generic feel good “holiday” that has no more meaning to it than the spoof holiday “Festivus” that was created on the television show Seinfeld. Christmas is no longer supposed to be about Christ, Tradition or family, it is simply about the gobbling up of endless treats and material possessions until your stomach and your credit card both explode.
There is temptation to fall into thinking of December 25th as only a worldly day, but we must recenter ourselves on the Nativity and on Christ, because Christ is the reason for our joy on this day, to forget Him is to forget everything that matters about this day. This phenomenon to fall into worldly passions is not new because Saint Gregory the Theologian told believers long ago that “This is what we are celebrating today: the Coming of God to man, that we might go forth, or rather that we might go back to God, that putting off the old man we might put on the new; and that we have died in Adam, so we might live in Christ. Therefore, let us keep the feast, not after the manner of a pagan festival, but in a godly way.” We must use Christmas as an opportunity to reaffirm our Faith and dedication to our King, Jesus the Christ, not fall into greed, gluttony, and drunkenness.
So brothers and sisters I will not write on endlessly about the how and the why because Christmas is something to be experienced! Go out and bring the joyful message of the coming of Christ to your family, neighbors, friends and even your enemies. This is a day for celebration among the nations of the entire world, so fill yourself with inner joy of the Holy Spirit and take this time to glorify our newborn King. God bless all of you and may you all have a blessed and Merry Christmas.