Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Parish Council Presidents and Beloved Faithful,
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Beloved, behold, I share with you once again the story of the child Jesus, the King of Kings, to whom the kings of the East came to present their gifts (Mt 2:11), and the Good Shepherd, to whom the shepherds went with haste, and when they saw Him a child lying in the manger with Mary and Joseph, they made known what had been told them about this child (Lk 2:16-17).
Behold, I recount to you today this story that has been told and retold repeatedly for more than two thousand years. It is the story of God’s wonderful love; how He so loved the world, that He sent His only Begotten Son for our salvation (Jn 3:16). He no longer wished to be present in symbols of old, but to become THE present (the gift), and to be revealed to the world, in person, God is with us, Emmanuel (Mt 1:23).
This is the story of Christmas: that, being born eternally without a beginning beyond time and space, the Son of God, when the fullness of time had come today, has willed to be limited in the womb of a virgin, and to be born of her in the flesh, in order to redeem us so that we might receive adoption as children (Gal 4:4).
This is the story of Christmas: that God had loved us first (1Jn 4:19), to the extent that He became one of us in order to make us one with Him and partakers of His divine nature (2 Pt 1:4). He so loved the world that not only He created it but has come today to renew it: He who nourishes the world as a mother (Is 49:15) has come today to be nourished by a mother.
This is the story of Christmas: that God’s love brings great joy, peace, and good hope to our earth (Lk 2:10, 14). Hence, “glory to God in the highest heaven” (Lk 2:14). Let there be no longer a place for fear because perfect love casts out fear (1 Jn 4:18): God is with us… perfect love is with us (Mt 1:23; 1Jn 4:8).
As I entrust to you again this story, I invite you to share it with all those around you: Jesus is Christmas. While the world is busy trying to spread the “magic” of the season, I encourage you to share the “wonder” of the season: “a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders, and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is 9:6). Go out, therefore, to all the peoples, and share with them the real Christmas: the love of God; let them feel, through your presence, the presence of God, Emmanuel: God is with us.
I wish you and your families a joyful and blessed feast of Nativity. May God make His peace, hope, and love, reign in your hearts.
ܒܪܝܟ ܡܘܠܕܗ ܕܡܪܢ܆ ܘܒܪܝܟܐ ܗܝ̱ ܫܢܬܐ ܚܕܬܐ
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Yours in Christ,
+ Dionysius John Kawak
Archbishop, Patriarchal Vicar