On the night of Nativity, the angels chanted a canticle which was engraved on the hearts of men before being written down on the pages of history: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Nativity gives us a reminder and confirmation of concepts that man must live in his life journey, among which is the message of peace, and the message of joy.
Peace had been lost in people’s lives when man had chosen to be separate from God and disobey His commandments, fear sneaked into the lives of our fathers Adam and Eve, making them lose their hope which they had enjoyed. The ferocity of fear and insecurity increased, after man had stretched his hand to kill a brother of his out of envy and hatred. Thus, fear and worry feelings have pervaded mankind, and the features of peace were lost.
With the birth of Christ; the Prince of Peace, as Prophet Isaiah prophesied long ago: “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.” Heaven has announced the return of peace to the Earth. Nonetheless, among the rules of achieving peace are love and good. The teachings of Lord Christ focused on the concept of love for all human beings. He went about doing good for everyone; He healed the sick, rose the dead, gave sight to the blind, fed thousands, and taught everyone. Lord Christ promised His disciples to give them a firm peace that can never be taken away even by the whole world, He said, “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.”
Thus, the message of Nativity became a reminder to us that our role is to follow the footsteps of Lord Christ; as He has come to restore the lost peace between man and God and between man and his fellow human beings, we as well, when pursuing such peace toward others, are inevitably following the path of Lord Christ. Peacemaking is one of the attributes of a loving man, who walks in the path of good, whose life is full of inner peace, and who is keen to spread peace on the earth.
Indeed, the world is in dire need of peace, and it can only be achieved through a genuine desire in our depths to reject hatred that brings nothing but death, destruction and the loss of peace. As human beings come closer to each other, in honest attempts to understand each other, as they form one humane family heading towards one same destiny, peace will be achieved, especially when man gets truly closer to God and learns that He is the Peacemaker in the highest, He beatified the peacemakers. Man shall realize the responsibility he would bear to work for the peace of the world: which begins within each soul first, and then lights up gradually to shine with love for all. Through peace, humanity will know the true meaning of joy and happiness.
I wish you a glorious Nativity, pleading for God to make this year filled with peace and good for all of you.
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center