A Christmas Message from Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece
Delivered on December 20, 2007
My beloved children,
"TODAY A SAVIOR IS BORN TO YOU." This phrase, which the Angel addressed to the shepherds of Bethlehem on the night of the Nativity, I fear that we have heard so many times that it no longer has a strong impression on us. Nevertheless the Church does not tire of repeating it and today she invites all of us, we the people of the 21st century, to receive our Savior, there in the manger of Bethlehem, God who was incarnate out of love, in our hearts, in our homes, in our cities, in our nations. Everywhere.
OF COURSE THIS PHRASE is addressed today to people who are arrogant and conceited by technological achievements, people reared by the 20th century, and relying on the 21st. To people with an abundance of resources, the successes of science, but also of spiritual atrophy, of inner emptiness, and a lack of communal experience which is a reasonably needed basis in the matters of faith. People today are as if they are skeletal in inspiration, in hope, and are captured by their conquests, victims of their progress, fraught with hopeless prospects for the future.
LIKE A CLARION CALL we hear again today the words of the Angel. It's as if it is calling people of the 21st century to wake up from the lethargy of utilitarian materialism and the bingeing off of the plasma of self-sufficiency. "Wake up, people of the 21st century!" The Savior challenges us but also invites each of us to review our journey, to regain our freedom, to see once more the range of our life within the bright light of His truth.
"WAKE UP PEOPLE OF THE 21ST CENTURY!" Your achievements have caused you to slumber and you thought you conquered the world. You have made insignificant what is sacred and holy, considering them myths and legends which nourish the imagination of young children, with no return in your personal existential being. But look around you. Fratricidal wars, hunger and illnesses of the weak, the trampling of human dignity, corruption, scandals, the splitting of the unity of the human race, the absence of love, the domination of interests. Such a world you have prepared for your children, where nature also groans and complains of your abuse. Islands of hope are not absent however. But they are tragically few, and ostentatiously inadequate.
CHRISTMAS IS FIRST OF ALL addressed to our souls. Faith in the Savior saves and gives meaning to our lives. It guides us to an empirical encounter that will interpret for us the event. With humility as well as with freedom. The consequences follow: hope, light, the struggle, humanity. The Savior Christ challenges us and inspires us to become people and to be liberated from our commitments to internal worldliness and alienation.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.