HOMILY ON THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Incarnate God,

CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM!

THY Nativity, O Christ our God, has caused the light of
knowledge to rise upon the world. For therein the worshippers
of the stars were by a Star instructed to worship Thee, the Sun of
Righteousness, and to know Thee as Orient from on High. Glory
to Thee, O Lord. (Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of the Feast.
Mode 4)

Entrance Hymn. Mode 2.

"I have begotten Thee from the womb before the Morning Star,"
The Lord swore and will not repent, Thou are a Priest forever
according to the Order of Melchizedek." Save us, O Son of God,
Who were born of a Virgin.

Kontakion Hymn. Mode 3.

On this day the Virgin gives birth to the Super-essential. To
the Unapproachable, earth is providing the grotto. Angels
sing and with the shepherds offer up glory. Following a Star,
the Magi are still proceeding. He was born for our salvation,
a newborn Child, the Pre-Eternal God.

Our King and Master, in His earliest infancy, clearly indicated how great would be His power and accomplishments. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh brought to Him from afar symbolized the wealth laid up for those who love Him. His troubling of Herod and all of Jerusalem foretold His triumph over death, the devil, and Hades. Angels and shepherds were stewards of the mystery of His Incarnation, and kings from the East worshipped Him, showing that authority over both the visible world and the visible is conferred upon His Human Nature, as He Himself says: "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew, Ch. 28). David foretold that "all kings of the earth shall worship Him" (Psalm 71), and today we see the beginning of the prophecy’s FULFILLMENT, for three temporal kings honor the King of kings with gifts and adoration.

Such strength and authority are already manifest in our new-born Lord Jesus Christ, that even as a little Babe He is known as Master, "the mighty God, and Potentate" (Isaiah, Ch. 9). We discern in the small, feeble limbs of an infant the Omnipotence of Jesus Christ, Whom the Holy Church likens to a little lamb. "The shepherds hastened as to a Shepherd," she chants, "and beholding Him as a spotless Lamb, pastured in Mary’s womb, her they hymned, and said, "Rejoice, Mother of the Lamb and Shepherd" (Akathist to the Theotokos, Oikos 4). Here Christ is both likened to a lamb and directly called the Lamb born of the Virgin. But what strength does the Lamb possess? His strength is certainly invincible, as is evident from the following. Saint John the Theologian saw in a vision beasts and serpents emerging from the sea, and out of the abysses, and from the wilderness. Their heads were terrible to behold, their jaws agape, and their bite venomous. They rose up against the Lamb, in accordance with the saying of the Holy Scripture: "These shall make war against the Lamb" (Revelation, Ch. 17). But instead their intended Victim prevails over them all, utterly annihilating them, as it is written: "The Lamb shall overcome them, for He is the Lord of lords and King of kings." The Lamb represents the Son of God; the serpents and wild animals, demons. But let us consider: why did the Angel, in revealing the struggle between the Son of God and His enemies, not employ the name disclosed to the immaculate Virgin at the Annunciation and given the Child at His Circumcision? Why did he say, "These shall make war with the Lamb," and not "These shall make war with Jesus Christ?" Because already at His Nativity, the Savior lays low His enemies, not waiting to receive His name. He is a tiny lamb resting on a bed of hay, but already He has crushed NOETIC BEASTS and DRAGONS like reeds, shattering their bones as if they were potters’ vessels.

From the hour of His Birth this Child possessed wisdom as well as strength, for it is written: "Great is our Lord, and great is His strength, and of His understanding, there is no measure" (Psalm, 146). Ordinary new-borns comprehend nothing, and as they grow, they require instruction, if they eare not to remain ignorant; but this Divine Child was Wisdom itself before His Nativity, and at His birth, He is called the "depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God" (Romans, Ch. 11). He has taken the form of a little boy, but His wisdom is Pre-Eternal. He is at once an infant, and the Ancient of Days; a son and a father. When speaking of His Nativity, Prophet Isaiah called Him, "Father of the age to come" (Isaiah, Ch. 9). What other babe has ever been referred to as a father? It is because the Divine Infant Christ shares the wisdom and understanding of the Father that the Prophet uses his term. Moreover, the Heavenly Offspring of the immaculate Virgin cares for us exactly as a father cares for his children, and because He does so, we know Him TO BE OUR SAVIOR. His Nativity permits us, WHO WERE DEAD IN SIN, TO BE BORN ANEW, like the Prodigal son in the Gospel, who had perished but was RESTORED TO LIFE.

Without a doubt, Christ our Savior imparted to us a kiss on the day He was born. We were dead to sin, but He brought us back to life by His grace; though only a child, He showed Himself to e the Wisest of fathers.

To be convinced that Christ imparted to us a kiss at His Nativity, we have only to turn to the Divine Scripture. In the Song of Solomon we read how a soul that loves the Lord expresses its yearning to be united with God: "Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth" (Song of Solomon, Ch. 1). And just wh is it that so desires God’s kiss? Saint Ambrose tells us that it is we ourselves, our nature, our flesh, that so desire to see the Son of God, face to face, as it were, and to press our lips lovingly against His in a holy kiss. This He made possible by His Incarnation…Undoubtedly, the kiss Christ gave us when He was born brought us back from the death of sin and was for us the beginning of the life of Divine grace.

Unto the Divine Infant born for our sake be honor, thanks, and worship from all creation; and may the Most Pure, Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Him, be glorified and praised by all generations unto the ages. Amen. [Source: The Great Collection of The Lives of the Saints]

___________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +



With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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