Beloved in Christ,
Greetings to everyone while you are still preparing to celebrate the birth of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This year our Christmas Eve Vesperal Divine Liturgy begins at 5 PM. At this awesome celebration of the Nativity of our Lord we’ll be greeting our brothers and sisters by saying: “Christ is Born!” Then their response “Glorify Him!” will remind us of the joy of the angels while the reality of the birth of our Savior resonates in our hearts.
One might ask, as we participate in the season of gift-giving, just what can we give our all-loving Lord in response to His many blessings? Our father in Christ, Metropolitan ALEXIOS relayed the following illustration in response to this question when he shared the following story concerning St. Ieronymos.
St. Ieronymos, who in the midst of all the festive Christmas spirit, was instead crying out to God, feeling that he had nothing to offer. Suddenly, he heard a voice, “Yes, my son, you have the greatest gift of all.” This made the Saint cry all the more, believing he had misplaced a gift. “What is it, so that I might offer it?” “Your sins,” the voice replied.
Then His Eminence wrote: ”God expects only our purified and contrite hearts, in return for all His Goodness.”
I pray that I’ll being seeing each of you this Sunday, the 22nd as we gather for our normal Sunday services of Matins (9 AM) and Divine Liturgy (10AM). And then, for those who are able, I’m looking forward to the Christmas Eve Celebration with candlelight reflecting in the faces of the faithful.
If at all possible, please set aside these times for worshipping together and for receiving the best Christmas gift of all, the Body and Blood of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.