Nativity

The angel announces to the shepherds the joyful message of the Holy Night, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy… For unto you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Lk. 2: 10-11)
Photo: Hortus Deliciarum 12th. C

In this time of suffering, crises and anxiety, we need the message of Christmas, today as 2,000 years ago. Every year anew! We all need the comforting word of the angels, "Fear not!" Do not be afraid! The Saviour is born to you: Jesus in Bethlehem (house of bread) as bread for the world. We need the glad tidings of the angelic hosts now as then in the Shepherds’ Field in Bethlehem. We need them again today for all of us, for the whole world, "Gloria in excelsis Deo! - Glory to God in the highest!" And peace on earth, joy and goodwill to the people in this world!

Do not be afraid! We all need that! Emmanuel, God is with us! Jesus reminded the apostles of this meaning of his name on the day of his ascension. I am Emmanuel! “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world!” Do not be afraid! Walk and follow this Christmas message!

The Christmas angels’ song is that programme, is heaven’s plan for the earth, is the programme of the Gospel, the programme of Jesus, is the law for our world, which is so threatened by wars, hate, selfish interests, terror and fanaticism.

 

The angels’ song is not only our programme, but one for all people, all religions, all countries, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The terrible developments are the reason for the emigration of Christians from the Middle East. The continued emigration means the loss of their presence, role and witness to the Gospel, its values and its message.

That is why we consider the proclaimed joy of Christmas as the greatest gift for all. It is the best condition for communal living among peoples, for Christians remaining in security and freedom together with Muslims, and for the longed-for peace in the Holy Land! It is the basis for dialogue between Islam, Judaism and Christianity. As Isaiah says, “O Lord our God, give us peace: for thou hast rendered to us all things.” (26: 12 LXX)

This meditation is the content of my good wishes to all the friends and people I have served and cared for during my sixty years as priest, as bishop and as patriarch.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and every blessing for the New Year 2020!

With love and blessings

Patriarch Emeritus Gregorios III


Teachings of Christ

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

Holy Forefathers

Through faith, O Christ, you justified the Forefathers, * betrothing through them in advance the Church of the gentiles. * The Saints exult in glory, * for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: * she who gave birth to You without seed. * Through their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us. (Troparion, Tone 2)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You did not honor a hand-depicted image, O thrice-blessed ones, * but defended by the undepicted Being you were glorified in a trial by fire. * And, standing in the midst of unbearable flame, you called upon God: * “Hasten, O Compassionate One, and speed to our help, * for You are merciful and You can do whatever you will.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Second Sunday Before Christmas)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The demons are sleepless and immaterial, death is at hand, and I am weak. Lord, help me; do not let Your creature perish, for You care for me in my misery.

St. Peter of Damascus