In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

I think most preachers feel about the same way on our Lord’s Nativity – between the Fast, and all of the services, and the readings, and the homilies of the last weeks, what’s really left to say?

We know the historical significance of the event that we celebrate today – the Nativity is really an extension of the Feast of the Annunciation. At the Annunciation, our humble God took on flesh and became man – and today, we celebrate the birth of the God-man into the world. From that point in time on, Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, is a unique union of God and man, of the mortal and the immortal, of the created and the uncreated. Right now, joined eternally to the Holy Trinity, seated at the right hand of the God and Father, is our Saviour Jesus Christ – God before all ages, eternally existing, and man, Son of the Virgin, with a resurrected and deified body joined forever with the Holy Trinity.

God’s love for us, taking His creation so intimately to Himself, is unfathomable for our human minds. And so what is our response, what is our thanksgiving for the grace and mercy of God? I’d like us to hear some of the beautiful language that the Father’s of the Church use when talking about our life in Christ. Because our thanksgiving to God is not completed with our lips (hymns, prayers, praises) but is made truly complete when we offer to Him our lives to be transformed into His image.

All of the events of the life of Christ are to be manifest in our lives as well. As the Virgin conceived God in the flesh in her womb and was truly the Theotokos – the bearer of God – we also are to carry in our bodies the very presence and image of Christ. St. Maximos writes, “The divine Word, Who once for all was born in the flesh, always in His compassion desires to be born in Spirit in those who desire Him. He becomes an infant and moulds Himself in [us] through the virtues.” We are all called to be Theotokos – the bearers of God, of Christ – both for our transformation and for the salvation of the world. That statement which sounds cliché – you may be the only God that some people ever see – in our understanding this is very true. The image of God which I bear may be the only contact some people will ever have with the real and living God – this is why we are all called to be Theotokos.

And as the Virgin, on the Feast we celebrate today, brought into the world the Christ, the Saviour, so too our lives are to give birth to Christ into the world. We’re not only to bear Him, but to give birth to Him daily in this fallen and sinful world that needs His love and salvation so desperately. Metropolitan Hierotheos, writing on this mystery of our personal participation in the Nativity of Christ, says “we live the Nativity of Christ when we have lived our own rebirth. This is the most fundamental message and meaning of the feast of Christmas…we live Christ’s incarnation personally in our life…[and] we experience the birth of the God-Man Christ through the sacramental and ascetical life that we live, following the Lord’s precepts, the commandments of God…Christ is conceived within us through faith, and he is carried in the womb and born through virtues.”

We give birth to Christ, we give life to Christ in the visible world today, by our lives. We are called Christian – little Christ – and by striving to live up to that name, we present Christ fresh and new, yet timeless and eternal, we present Him to the world every day. This is a very profound and beautiful way to express our life in Christ, our personal participation in His Incarnation and His holy Birth into the World some 2000+ years ago.

May we all carry Christ within us, and may we all give birth to Him in our lives, being transformed into His image, and sharing His love with the whole world.

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

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