“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31
As we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our hearts are filled with holiness and humility, especially when we read the biblical passage about Angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary.
How inspiring is the dialogue between the angel and Mary! This is the moment when God, the Father, chooses the meekest of all to carry in her womb the Savior of the World – Baby Jesus, the Son of God.
Today, the world rejoices as we celebrate Christmas, for we have this blessed gift of once again experiencing the mystery of Christ’s incarnation for the salvation of human kind. This is a unique opportunity to reflect upon our relationship with God and appreciate the gifts of virtues abundantly bestowed upon us.The Holy Virgin Mary, with utmost humility, accepted the virtue of becoming the Mother of God and carrying in her womb the Redeemer.
Hence, through the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany, we must experience a spiritual renaissance, opening our hearts wide to house Jesus, and receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Like the Holy Virgin Mary, we must humble ourselves and accept God’s call with humility and obedience.
Christmas is an invitation extended to each and every one of us for a renewed life, which is possible to achieve only through Jesus and with Jesus. When we journey with Christ, we become a ray of light in the darkness of this world, reflecting God’s love, grace, and mercy.
Indeed, the world needs a hard reset. People yearn for spiritual renewal. Nevertheless, instead of utilizing God’s given gifts, we are wasting our resources doing useless things and waging wars against each other. Had we chosen to channel our virtues in the right direction, we could have worked unspeakable miracles.
The Feast of the Nativity and Theophany reminds us of God’s divine intervention in our lives, so that we may reflect upon it and humble ourselves to receive God’s grace as did Mary, the Mother of God. With the birth of Jesus Christ, the mystery of salvation is revealed to us, which is the greatest gift to humanity.
Christmas requires spiritual preparation, which includes prayer, devotional reading, charity, caring for the bereaved and the sick, and helping the needy. This must be done with humility, in quiet, without trumpeting, not from our surplus or leftovers but from our own share. Mother Theresa says, “Love means to be willing to give until it hurts.”
Christmas is a family holiday. Hence, the family should come together with prayers, singing of hymns and Christmas carols, reading from the Gospels, and most importantly, with love and good-will towards each other. By taking simple steps, we can teach our children how to make the sign of the cross, recite daily prayers, read biblical stories, and highlight the importance of attending church.
Through these basic steps, we adorn our lives with the love and wisdom of Christ, transforming our homes into sacred abodes. Otherwise, the world will suffocate us with materialism and corrupted values of this life. We must always remember the picture of Angel Gabriel and Mary and how she accepted to house Jesus in the temple of her blessed body. On this Christmas, let us be aware and more mindful of our virtuous gifts so that we can live a renewed life. We must not be spiritually frail. Rather, we must synchronize our words and deeds and through them reflect God’s immense love for human kind.
The celebration of the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany is complete when we emulate the humble character of the Virgin Mary and welcome the birth of Christ in our hearts with spiritual jubilation.
CHRIST IS BORN AND REVEALED!
BLESSED IS THE REVELATION OF CHRIST!
Abp. Hovnan Derderian, Primate