by Fr. James C. Meena
I take this opportunity to wish all of you a very blessed and most joyous New Year as we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I embrace you in the Name of the Lord and pray that between now and the Christmas which is to come, 365 days from now, that our situation in the life of the world shall be infinitely better than it is today. I ask you to continue praying for those being held hostage by Godless Regimes, to continue praying for those suffering persecution behind the Iron Curtain at the hands of anti-Christ and for all those who are struggling to know God and who are being interfered with by those who would be anti-God.
As we join together in this exceptionally holy season of the year, the Nativity of our Lord, let us not forget that we are commissioned as Christians and as His followers to carry the message of the Word, the good news which He came to proclaim. We come together as Orthodox Christians to offer up our prayers of joy and thanksgiving on this special holy day because the Nativity of Christ is of great significance to us.
It should not be wasted upon us that historically the Church did not celebrate the birth of Jesus as a separate feast day until three or four centuries after the Church was commissioned by Christ but rather His birth was celebrated in conjunction with His baptism, both being acts of initiation, both being significant to the beginning of the life of the Church. It was not until some time later that the fathers of the Church determined that the birth of Christ should be celebrated not simply because it was an important event that should be set apart, but because it should be set up as a counterbalance to the pagan practices which were prevalent in those days.
We have been fighting this battle with pagan practices for some 1800 years and we win a battle here and we lose a battle there but I assure you the war will not be decided until The Second Coming of Christ. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us as followers of Christ to continue to be aware of the fact that we are involved in a warfare that is unseen, against enemies which are invisible, enemies who struggle to tear us apart spiritually at every possible opportunity.
It's about time we got excited about the reality that we are soldiers of God, that we have been enlisted into His army by our baptism and by virtue of our commitment to Him and that we are commissioned to do the tasks which He has ordained us to do, namely, to carry the good news to the whole world, to transform all of creation so that the whole of creation might rejoice and sing today: "Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth, Peace, Good Will among men."
"Christ is Born:" says the ancient hymn of the Church and it responds, "Glorify Him!"
Christ is born and skeptics have been scattered!
Christ is born and doubters have been refuted!
Christ is born and sadness has been repudiated!
Christ is born and glory has come upon the face of the earth!
Christ is born and hope has been manifested in the hearts of men!
Christ is born and the powers of hell have been dispelled!
Christ is born and we are reborn with Him that we, like the shepherds and the magi, might fall down before Him and hail Him as our Lord and Master and as the Prince of Peace in a world that knows no peace.
Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America