Feast of the Nativity of Christ (Old-Style)

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
The Light is shining in the Darkness
Feast of the Nativity of Christ (Old-Style)
7 January, 2008
Galatians 4:4-7 ; Matthew 2:1-12

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Today, as we are celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ, we are not celebrating the birthday of just anyone. This particular Birth is different from any other because this is the Birth of the Son of God. In this case, Mary, a human being, is the Mother of God ; but God, Himself, is the Father of this birth. Joseph is a foster-father, we could say. In this Birth, we are seeing the love of God taking on flesh. Why do I say “the love of God ?” I say it because the Apostle John in particular tells us that God is love (see 1 John 4:8, 16). The Scriptures from the beginning (and not just the Apostles) have been telling us that God is love, and that everything that has been created is from His love. All creation is sustained to this day because of His love.

The Only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God, in the beginning spoke everything into being. This is why we are calling Him the Word of God. We did not decide by ourselves to call Him the Word of God. It was shown to us by the Lord that we are supposed to call Him the Word of God. He, the Word, spoke everything into being, and He still does actually continue to speak everything into being, because nothing comes into being without His speaking. This is Who is taking flesh today. The Word of God, who spoke and speaks everything into being is taking flesh today. He is taking flesh today in order to save us.

The whole purpose of this Birth is going to be fulfilled at Pascha very soon. The fulfilment of this Birth comes at Pascha. He takes flesh in order to restore to us the way into the Kingdom of Heaven, that way that we closed because we are so selfish and so stubborn. We closed it. How did we close it ? We closed it because, in the first place, we believed a lie, the lie of the serpent in the garden of Eden. After we, in our first parents believed the lie and fell, the first thing that we did was to lie and to blame someone else. Adam and Eve were blaming each other. They immediately became afraid of God, and they hid themselves.

We still do that to this day. There is nothing different in us since this time. We are afraid ; we hide ; we run away, and this is what kept the door closed. Moreover, we never did say we were sorry. Adam and Eve did not say that they were sorry, and we have not been very good at it either.

Repentance is the hard thing for us : turning away from darkness to light, turning away from selfishness to selflessness, turning away from death to life. However, in order to save us, because He loves us, the Word takes flesh today, and the light is shining in the darkness. The light is now shining in you and in me. As we sang just now : “As many as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ”. We are clothed with Christ. We are shining, ourselves, with the light of Christ. His light is shining in us. In Pascha, the Lord, Himself, is breaking down the walls which we had set up between us and Him. He is bringing us back into the Kingdom of Heaven.

In this Birth we are celebrating the love of God for us. He empties Himself. He allows us to kill Him because He loves us. In all this, He is victorious over sin and death, and He gives us life. That is what we are celebrating now, too, and that is one of the reasons that we are calling this time of the year the “Winter Pascha”.

It is important to remember this love of Jesus Christ for you and for me, to accept it and to allow this light to shine in us. It is important to take hold of the hope that He is giving us in this Birth, and to live in this hope. Let us remember to live in this love and to shine with this light, the light of Jesus Christ, the light of His life. In every part of our lives, all our lives, let us glorify Him, together with the unoriginate Father, and the all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.