“He did not leave Himself without witness” – Watani Newspaper – 7/1/2015

“He did not leave Himself without witness” – Watani Newspaper – 7/1/2015

   

   I would like to congratulate you on the Feast of Nativity. I hope this year would be a year of abundant blessings.

   The story of Nativity has started by God’s word that He “will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

   All humanity has waited for that unusual birth that all prophets had spoken of, Birth of Jesus.

   ‘Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14″For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

   Prince of peace was Jesus’ name that the angels said upon their appearance to the shepherds bringing them the good tiding of Jesus Birth that was the way to bring the lost peace between earth and heaven back. “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

   St. Matthew the Evangelist explains that Immanuel means “God with us” Matthew 1:23

   When it was the fullest of time, God ‘s word was fulfilled. At the scene of Nativity, we saw different characters that vary in their reactions toward the good tidings. God ” did not leave Himself without witness” at all ages God shows Himself, there is always a hope that God would work no matter how corrupted that age is as corruption  cannot prevent the work of the Holy Spirit.

   Many saints witnessed the Nativity: Zechariah the priest who the angel appeared to while he was serving at the altar and bring him the good news that he would give birth to a son, John the Baptist. There was also his wife, Elizabeth and the Bible says about them that “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”

   If evil prevails that does not mean that the righteous would not exist anymore. St. Joseph the carpenter was one of the crucial characters at the Nativity. He was entrusted to take care of Baby Jesus and St. Mary.

   Bible did not tell us much about him, yet we know that he was descended from King David and born at Bethlehem. He went there upon a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. He was a poor carpenter yet a righteous man who was keen on keeping all the religious ceremonies and statutes. It was not an easy mission; taking a pregnant mother to Bethlehem where they searched a lot for a place where she can get birth to her Baby. One of his friends told him of a manger where animals live. When Baby Jesus’ life was at stake he took his Family and fled to Egypt where they kept moving from a place to another. He spared no effort to guarantee the safety of his Family. When the angel asked him to go back home, he began to perform another role: the provider of his Family. Joseph did his role righteously seeking no glory. He sacrificed greatly yet silently for the sake of his Family and waited nothing in return. According to the church’s tradition he died in the presence of Jesus and St. Mary. Therefore Jesus asked John the beloved to take good care of His mother as had Joseph been alive at that time, he would have taken care of her.

   St. Joseph was a noble, modest and righteous man, thus he deserved to witness Jesus Birth.

Many Happy Returns

General Bishop

Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center

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