December 25, 2021

First Homily for the Day of the Nativity of Christ (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"For this reason, God will descend to the earth, 
so He will lead us to Heaven" 
(From the Akathist to the Sweetest Jesus, kontakion 8).

Many of us today are not as happy as we should be; and this, of course, is due to the fact that we do not know well or forget the real reason for the present joy. And therefore, listeners, let us talk about why we should rejoice this day.

Today, the Holy Church recalls the time when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, descended from Heaven and became incarnate from the Most Holy Virgin Mary. But why did Jesus Christ, the Son of God, come down from Heaven? Yes, in order to elevate us to Heaven. Therefore, this is the main reason for our present joy: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down from Heaven in order to lead us to Heaven.

Heaven, this blissful dwelling of invisible spirits and our future eternal dwelling, was previously very little known. Oh, this ignorance alone would be murderous, painful for us! In moments of sorrow, in hours of lamentation, where could our souls fly away? In the moments of death, in the hours of separation, where would we find comfort? And what kind of life would it be if it should end irrevocably? It would be better not to live at all. And what would be the joys that should disappear forever? Better not to be so happy at all.

Now, listeners, such thoughts cannot and should not bother us. Now we have Heaven, the land of joy and consolation, where so often we fly away from the vanities of the world to rest our souls, to calm down our hearts; now we have eternal life, where we will live a new life, inseparable from everything that is so near and dear to our hearts.

But who told us about this? Who told us what eternal life is? Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We would not believe otherwise, but we cannot but believe Him, for He Himself came from Heaven. Someone else could not convince us, but we cannot doubt His words, for He is the true God. After this, can we not rejoice on the day on which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, descended from Heaven, in which an unknown country is open to us, this Heaven, the blessed dwelling of invisible spirits and our future eternal dwelling?

True, we would have known this unknown country without Jesus Christ. The body that contains our soul now prevents us from seeing the spirit world; with its destruction there will be no such obstacle. But, alas, we would then see that blessed world in order not to see it forever; we would then know to what bliss God created us, but together we would know that it is impossible for us to take advantage of this bliss. Oh, this knowledge would be more painful than ignorance itself, this light would be more deadly than darkness itself! But now, with the coming of Jesus Christ, we have nothing to fear: Jesus Christ not only told us that there is Heaven, there is eternal life, but He also showed us the way to reach this Heaven; He also provided the means for the legacy of this life.

What deprives us of Heaven? What prevents us from enjoying eternal life? Sins. But Jesus Christ delivered us from our sins; we now come out of the baptismal font clean from all sinful defilement. Jesus Christ shed His Blood for us - can we doubt the possibility of ascending to Heaven? Can Jesus Christ not accept us into Heaven, whom He redeemed with His precious Blood for Heaven? And after that, can we not rejoice in the present day, in which this redemption began?

So, listeners, in these days let us meditate or talk with each other about why Jesus Christ came to earth; then pure joy will itself come to us, fill our soul and be reflected outside of us. This pure and holy joy will purify and sanctify with itself our earthly joys, which we now taste. Yes, listeners, while we are on earth, we also need earthly joys, and the Church does not forbid us them or condemn them, so long as these joys do not drown out our spiritual joys. And they will certainly drown them out if we forget the real reason for our present joy. Amen.