By Fr. George Zervos
Today the Christ-Child, the Son of God, is born in Bethlehem, Judea. He's born to a holy young maiden named Mary. Nine months earlier she had conceived the Christ in a supernatural way by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:20). This silent miracle was the dawn of a new age for all mankind. A Savior was horn showing us the way to inheriting eternal life in God's Kingdom.
The Holy Scripture readings found in Saint Matthew and Saint Luke's accounts describe this happening. First, an angel of the Lord appeared to pious shepherds while they were tending their flocks, and announced that a Savior was born. Then a multitude of heavenly hosts (angels) appeared singing praises to God and saying: “Peace and good will to all people” (Luke 2:14). Simultaneously, from a faraway country three wise men who studied the meaning of the stars were led to Bethlehem not by a star but, as the Church Fathers teach us, by an angel carrying a brightly lit lantern. The Shepherds ran to see the newly born Savior.
Where do WE run during the Nativity Season? To the bank to take out more money to spend on frivolous gifts? To the stores to get in on all the sales? To the grocery stores to buy special foods for entertaining on Christmas Day? But what did Jesus tell Martha when she complained that she was doing all the work? “Martha, Martha you are anxious and troubled over many things, but Mary (her sister) has chosen the good portion" (Luke 10:41). He meant Mary chose to hear his joyous words of eternal salvation.
Dear parents, fathers, mothers, single moms, single dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, run to the Church with your children in order to witness the birth of our Savior in a blessed setting. Run to your Church and light your candle out of faith, since as a Christian you are the light for the world to see. Run to the Church for the best meal of all - the Holy Communion. Run to the Church to pray that God will enlighten the world leaders who have forgotten to "love thy neighbor." Pray for the confused Orthodox faithful who still may doubt the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Run to the Church to reverence the Icons. Run to the Church to hear the Choir singing the magnificent words of His birth which were actually given by the Theotokos Mary: “Today a Virgin has given birth..." Join in the hymns of the Divine Liturgy. Listen to the Bible reading and sermon given by your Priest. Join in the prayers with your fellow Orthodox believers. Run to the Church so that you may greet each other with the words “Christ is Born! Glorify Him!!!”
Fr. George Zervos is the Priest of the St. Nicholas Church in Jamestown, New York. This article was originally published in the Shepherd's Staff Newsletter of December 2015.