Primate’s 2005 Christmas Message

Christ is Born

As Christians we await the blessed birth of the Son of God with great anticipation. In the miracle of the Birth of Christ our Lord we envision the horizon beyond time and space. It is in the birth of Christ our Lord that we are able to be reborn spiritually. It is in our Christian faith and life that we are strengthened in our commitment to God the Almighty.

As a creature of God man–having received the Divine breath–is the glory of all creation. Man very often experiences weaknesses and temptation in his journey towards God. The Birth of our Lord and Savior enables us to envision the light that shines on the path of Emmaus. It is this light that transfigures the life of mankind–reinstating our life once more in the path towards God.

One of the our contemporary Christian writers Henri J. M. Nouwen inspires us with a wonderful spiritual reflection as he speaks about the search of God that explains the true meaning of spiritual rebirth in Christ. "So I say to you–seek God and discover Him and make Him a power in your life. Without Him all of our efforts turn to ashes and our sunrises into darkest nights. Without him–life is a meaningless drama with the decisive scenes missing. But with Him we are able to rise from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope. With Him we are able to rise from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy. St. Augustine was right–we were made from God and we will be restless until we find rest in Him."

Christ is born. Blessed is the Birth of Christ.

For us Christians–the birth of Christ is the greatest miracle and the source of spiritual strength–within the vast universe God is the source of inspiration for all mankind–in the incarnation of Jesus Christ God descends from heaven to transform the souls of men and to deliver them from the perils of darkness–leading them to Himself in a spiritual journey and making men peacemakers and role models for the good life. This man–the creature of God–emanates the light of the Creator.

Our world is confronted with numerous challenges. Under the watchful eye of God we are able to achieve new accomplishmen’s. Yet human’suffering–hunger and thirst–both physical and spiritual–prevail and the perils of darkness increase. The birth of Christ is the divine Grace that awakens in us the consciousness to walk with Him and to live the life that the Disciples of Christ and the saints of the Church lived. Faith in the Son of God will make it possible for Christ to be born within us.

"They are not saints who refrain from entering life for fear of encountering evil?. They are not saints who remain in their individual isolation–motionless and idle–and reduce their lives–with the emptiness of their souls–to a desert where marshes do not exist because there is no water at all?. What saintliness is there in those hands that never touch life? While on the contrary–what sacred charm emanates from those hands that though are dipped sometimes in the mire of life but do not get soiled; they come out purified and more beautiful." (Karekin I).

Christ is born. Blessed is the Birth of Christ.

The Birth of Christ becomes the opportunity for spiritual joy only when we as Christians–and the Church and the community of the faithful–make sanctity the purpose and mission of our lives. Our world thirsts for spiritual rebirth. Our ancestors have bequeathed us to uphold their legacy and to continue to live in God–led by the light that emanates from the Gospels; to stay in communion with our ancestors whose sacrifices for their Christian faith inspires us to live our life of faith anchored on the rock of Holy Etchmiadzin.

Dear faithful children of the Armenian Apostolic Church:

Let your hearts become the City of Bethlehem where Christ will be reborn. I urge you to enrich your new life with new commitmen’s and vows–making the service of God the path of your lives. Let us strengthen our Diocese with unified efforts–with our many churches–schools–and national institutions–which are gifts from above and bridges that lead us to God. Let us greet one another with warm hearts–enriched with the mystery of Christ’s Birth and with the love to transfigure our God-given lives.

Christ is born. Blessed is the Birth of Christ.

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian Primate

Christmas 2006


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