ARCHPASTORAL NATIVITY MESSAGE
GOD IS WITH US!
We all love birthdays, and we celebrate on December 25th each year the most wonderful one of all. We celebrate the birthday of Child that has never been forgotten, and never shall be, as long as the earth circles the sun.
Who is this Child? The angel that appeared to the shepherds on the night He was born gave the answer of this question. He said: “Unto you is born this day… a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord.”
Christ the Lord, Whom God had promised to send ages before. Christ the Son of God, Who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Light of the world, the Resurrection and the Life.
Christ the Lord also called Himself the “Good Shepherd”. The Good Shepherd, Who lays His life down for His sheep.
Throughout His lifetime He showed that special concern for others which marks a true shepherd. Jesus lived on this earth for some 33 years and during that time He went about the land of Israel healing the sick, comforting the afflicted, forgiving sins, and teaching the great truth of God. At times the Lord didn’t sleep and at other times He didn’t eat when He found someone in great need. Sometimes He even crossed over the borders of other lands to find a “lost sheep” and to extend His loving hand of help. This is the literal meaning of the Lord’s birth – to know that the Lord still is the Good Shepherd. Seated at the right hand of the Father, He still feels and knows our heartache and intercedes for our help and comfort. “Come to Me all of you… and I will give you rest…”
is the promise of Christ to every person of every age.
Do our children know that promise? You know the words the Lord told the healed man of Gadara: “Return to your own house and show the great things that God has done for you.”
Like the man we also must obey and do as the Lord had requested. Because our own backyards, our own families, our own neighborhoods, our own communities need to feel the impact and influence of Christ.
What a tremendous change we will see if we all meet with Christ not only in the Church but everywhere two or three are gathered together in His name. That ancient name for the Savior - Emmanuel, “God is with us”
- becomes a reality for us. This, after all, is Orthodox Christianity on the practical and meaningful level – all to say: ”We are with the Lord!”
May we come to know Christ as our Good Shepherd and may we realize that in our Diocese we are His flock whom He loves and cares for each and every one of us. Christ is born! Glorify Him!
With love in Christ, + Metropolitan JOSEPH