Abbot Mark Kerr
Nativity Greeting of Bishop Longin
Peace of God! Christ is Born! Truly He is Born!
“A star showed plainly to the Magi the Word that was before the sun, Who has come to make transgression cease. They saw Thee wrapped in swaddling clothes, within a poor and lowly cave, Who sharest all our sufferings, and in joy they gazed upon Thee, Who art at once both man and Lord.” (Second Canon of Nativity, Ode I)
The Good Lord has once again, dear brothers and sisters, given us an opportunity to glorify Him, Who as the God-Man was born of the Holy Spirit and Mary the Virgin. He, Who existed before the creation of this world, and Himself is the Creator, takes on the flesh of His creation in order to redeem us from sin and death. Humbly born into this world, more than each and everyone of us, He comes in order to suffer like us, but in an even greater measure than we could imagine. He does everything possible in order to redeem us and give us a place next to Him. His Pre-eternal Light shines forth on us today, casting out the darkness in our souls and minds, opening our hearts to enlightenment.
We live in a world that has become quite upside down, where the family unit is daily being attacked and traditional morals and values are being mocked. The current mockery in the world of this order ordained by God, is a sign to us of fallen nature and the fallen world around us. However, seeing it, we should not despair, but rather take comfort in the Lord’s mercy which is abundantly poured out on His Nativity. Christ’s Nativity offers us an opportunity do glorify God with our whole family, knowing that the Lord Himself entered this world through His family in Bethlehem. It is within the family where all the good habits and traditions are cultivated. And most importantly, our belief is confirmed that Christ is the Only King and Lord and that only His Way leads to salvation. The Church is here to help in raising the children, that they be good people, people of God, who live a moral life through Christian virtues. This does not mean that there will not be temptation; however, they will have the tools necessary to be on the righteous path of salvation.
May the Christ-Child ever so radiantly resonate in our hearts today and every day. May we constantly call upon Him in prayer, renew ourselves and our commitment to Him through repentance and unite with Him through the Holy Mysteries, so that we may return to the paradise for which we were created, a foretaste of which is in the Holy Church of Christ. By doing this, we will fully accept, understand and feel the joy of this Feast, keeping our commitment to God and not veering off the sacred and holy path upon which we have been put.
Wishing you all peace, goodness and unity in the Lord and the blessings of the Christ-Child in the New Year 2023,
+ LONGIN Bishop of New Gracanica and Midwestern America
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The Nativity of Our Lord, Russian icon from the iconostasis in the Cathedral of St. Sophia