Prelate’s New Year’s Christmas Message

With the birth of the New year the good tidings of Epiphany and Nativity offers to us a new gift of renewal in our lives. Once again our hearts are filled with good disposition and ennoblement–exhilarating us with the hope of new desires–new expectations–new aspirations and new blessings. Yet the cause and the source of these aspirations is God’s great gift to mankind offered by the angel to mankind through the shepherds so pure hearted and so humble:

"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." (Luke 2: 10-11)

This is God’s greatest gift of all times to mankind. And why? "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son–that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3: 16)

The creation is the fruit of the same Divine–infinite and everlasting love.

As an expression of that same love God guided His people for a long time through signs and prophets; and when they followed Him–He made them lie down in green pastures–and led them beside the still waters. (Psalm 23:2)

The gift of that great love fills our hearts at this time with joy and delight. The song of the angels sounds more vibrant–and conveys a deeper meaning to mankind who respond through their God-given gifts; with flutes and harps–trumpets and drums–or through children singing:

"Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth Peace,

Good will toward men."

Who is that Christian person who on these festive days would not thank God for His abundant gifts–financial or moral–spiritual or physical and would not praise His name.

Praise thee Lord–praise thee…

Yes–we thank God for the birth of the incarnated New King in Bethlehem.

We thank God for radiating the Sun of Justice–who illuminated us with the light of Divine knowledge.

We thank God for our lives that gave us our nation–for the land which turned into our homeland–for our families that formed our church.

Let us sing joyfully filled with the great mystery of Christmas:

Glory to God in the highest…

The splendor of God–the tidings of Christmas brought the message of peace to the world:

"And on earth peace…"

In human life–the so called "peace" of tyran’s was forced by the use of arms and physical power. But the peace of Christmas tidings became a gift of bliss and peace for those who acknowledged and accepted it.

"Blessed are the peacemakers–for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5: 9)

In the course of 1700 years of our spiritual journey can we truly call ourselves the children of God? True to Christmas message–how can we value our journey with dedicated service advocating peace within the lives of our religious–national–social and family structures?

The tidings of the Child Jesus spoke of this same message of peace which He left us as legacy: "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." (John 14: 27)

Come–let us join the chorus of the angels with the same fervency of our fathers:

"And on earth peace…"

Let peace prevail on our land and our lives.

On Christmas–the multitude of the angels in praising God also sang,

"Good will toward men…"

Doesn’t this heavenly song sound more pleasant at this season? Shouldn’t we now–more than ever join the chorus of the angels singing the Christmas tidings of love and happiness–in our religious–national–and family lives?

If we are thankful for God’s gift to us–then we have to follow the command of the Sun of Justice:

"A new commandment I give to you–that you love one another; as I have loved you–that you also love one another." (John 13:34)

Dear fellow Armenia’s,

On this miraculous feast of Christmas– as recipients of Divine gift and humble children of our church and nation–like the meek shepherds–it is our duty to fulfill the angelic message in our daily lives.

May the tidings of Christmas 1999–once again become the joyful sound of the bells of rebirth along the course of 1700 years of our spiritual journey.

May the song of peace become the anthem of our life. May the essence of love and good will be the driving force of our mission and our service.

Come–let’s raise our prayers to God and join the chorus of the angels glorifying God in Armenia–Artsakh and across the Diaspora–and let’s have the brightness of His Glory illuminate our souls and our lives through our fathers’ example.

As the peace-loving children of God–let’s try to be worthy of living peacefully–lovingly and in good will.

This is the real message and gift of Christmas.

We pray that this message will guide our religious–educational–administrative community and public lives like the star of Bethlehem.

May the New Year and the feast of Epiphany bring all the goodness and prosperity to our country–love and unity to the Armenian people; a strong foundation to our homeland and to our hierarchical Sees; peace and blessings to the world.

Happy New year to you all, Christ is born and revealed.

Prayerfully, Bishop Mousegh Mardirossian

Prelate of the Western Prelacy

Christmas–1999

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