“Messages of the Nativity” – October Magazine – 3/1/2015

“Messages of the Nativity” – October Magazine – 3/1/2015

   

   I wish you Merry Christmas and happy New Year and beseech God to bring peace and happiness back to the Egyptians and the whole world and that you enjoy the blessings of the feast. Egypt was the only resort to the Holy Family that brought blessings to its land and people.

   Nativity celebrations remind us of the angels’ song “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”. Jesus birth brought heavenly messages to us:

Message on humbleness

   God judges man according to his heart not his power or possessions. He loves and exalts the humble and meek and put down the haughty and mighty. St. Peter says, “Be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud,

But gives grace to the humble.”

   If we take a quick look at the incidents of Nativity, we can notice the humble life of St. Mary who was chosen by God out of all the world’s women to be His mother. She started her life serving in the sanctuary then she left it to live with St. Joseph who was an old, humble and righteous carpenter. Therefore, God entrusted him to take care of Mary and the Child. Their life was full of meekness and modesty thus they blessed all the people They met and places They visited. God honors the humbled because humility comes before honor as Solomon the wise has said.

   Heaven and earth rejoiced in Jesus’ miraculous Birth, angels celebrated with the meek shepherds who were guarding their flocks yet deserved to hear the good tidings of Jesus birth for their humbleness. They hastened to see Baby Jesus as the Bible mentioned, “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying “.

   The good tidings of Jesus birth were brought to the Shepherds exclusively. They spared no effort to meet the Child in Manger and rejoiced exceedingly. Thus, they were granted a blessing that even kings and many great people were not.

   Wise men from the west also met the Holy Family. Despite their great knowledge, they were humble-hearted thus they deserved to see Jesus. They also bore the suffering of traveling to a distant place out of their deep love and yearn to see Baby Jesus and offer Him their gifts. Therefore, God guided them through wonderful star that went before them till it stood where the Young Child was.When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy”.

   Rejoiced are the humble -hearted as they dwell in God’s heart. One of the Church’s fathers once said, “Blessed are those who lived humbly”. All the humble people as Abraham: father of the faithful, Joseph the righteous and Moses the prophet were exalted before God. All the humble-hearted know the way to God.

   In return, Nativity carries a message to the haughty and arrogant like the chief priests and scribes. “They loved the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’” The haughty are abhorred by the Lord as Solomon says, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

   Herod the king was paranoid and arrogant. He feared of losing his kingdom and was ready to kill anyone for its sake even if it was a little child! When he knew about Jesus birth, he planned to get rid of the Child and He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem. The Nativity’s message is to warn all the haughty in spirit that God resists them and us to consider our actions and change our wrong ways.

 Message of love and peace

   Nativity carries the message of peace to people And on earth peace”. Love and peace are connected as when love grows, peace prevails. Jesus Christ taught us to love each other and keep peace with others. When he was asked about the greatest commandment, He said, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29.On peace, He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”Matthew 5:9.When He wished to leave His disciples a message, it was of peace.“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

   When we celebrate Christmas, we should always remember its messages of love and peace as they are the true way to a joyfil life. When we share love and peace with others, they increase inside us. They say, “The more we share our happiness with others, the more it increases and the more we do that with sadness, the quicker it fades away”. Thus, St. John the Beloved taught us “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” St. Paul says, “Follow peace with all men”

   Merry Christmas, I pray to God to let peace and love prevail over Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the entire Middle East along with the whole world.

General Bishop

Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center

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