|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - December 2006|
Peace to you, Tonight, Tomorrow, & Forever!
'For Christ Himself has made peace between us by making us all one people, He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us'. (Ephesians 2:14).
We stand once again before God's mystical Presence, celebrating in the Church, as a family in Christ, our Lord's Holy Nativity. What a blessed, spiritually rewarding feast day it is for us all!
But do we truly bear witness to this great event or are we merely continuing to carry out the superficial traditions of the holiday season? Are we more concerned about the way our homes are decorated, the value of the gifts we give one another, than being caught up in the wonder of the greatest gift of all that God has given us - Christ the Lord, the Savior of the world?
As we read in St. Luke's Gospel, when the birth of our Savior was announced to the shepherds in the fields, "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men'" (St. Luke 2:13-14).
What a celebration in heaven! What worship of God! What a promise of peace on the earth and good will!
Surely, peace is our goal, but how do we, in this world, transcend and overcome the myriad social ills and evils that constantly seek to disrupt and destroy our peace? How do we respond to God's call for us to work for universal peace among all people in these difficult and troubling times?
Divisions exist among us because we think and understand differently, some individuals and groups believe only their views are correct, only their interpretations are valid. They are unwilling to concede that others' ideas may also have merit. But God is not impressed by the cleverness of our minds. The wisest of the holy prophets knew how small they were in the eyes of the Lord, and how totally dependent they were on His grace, for He cares little for our vain opinions. So let us cease our petty hostilities and squabbling. Christ gives us His peace and love to share with one another and that sharing supersedes all our interpretations and the limitations of our understanding. The gift of His wisdom, which we receive through His Holy Spirit, is surely the answer to all our problems.
Christ offers Himself to us. At His Holy Nativity He enters into our world and becomes one of us. If we seek Him, and cling to Him, all our differences diminish in importance. What matters is that all loving Orthodox Christians work together and concentrate on the vital task of loving one another. We can only do that by staying close to our Lord Christ, Who offers Himself to us on this holy feast day commemorating His Holy Nativity, and indeed on every day of our lives. For it is in Him and through Him that we find His peace and His love for us. Let us reflect that peace like a beacon in the world's night and let us share His love with all people.
Then, as in the words of our Great and Holy Father, St. Basil, we can all benefit from the "precious blessing" that God bestows. The Holy Gospel of peace, which is our great spiritual weapon against evil, shall turn away harm, calm our souls, and cure any wounds inflicted by our iniquities.
May the peace and love of our Lord God be always with you. Amen.
Christ Is Born! Glorify Him!
Humbly in Christ our Lord,
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(c) Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes