December 25, 2022

1935 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch

 By St. John Maximovitch

(Delivered in Shanghai in 1935)

Christ is born, praise Him! Christ from heaven, respond to Him! Christ on earth, exalt Him!

He who sits on a cherub comes to earth!

Born in a sinful world is the eternally begotten of God the Father!

The King of the Universe is coming from heavenly heights to man who has fallen deep into the pit of sin and unbelief!

Cheer up, all you who live on earth! The Son of God is coming to you and for you!

He comes to us not for punishment and judgment, but for our salvation.

He is already here, in little Bethlehem, in a miserable manger. Why this squalor?

Why did He come to the small earth, to the small city, Whom the heavens cannot contain?

To gain being created "a little lower than the angels", in the image of God's man.

Just as a good shepherd, leaving 99 sheep in the mountains, goes to look for only one lost sheep, so the unceasing praises of countless hosts of angels are not enough for the Lord, and He goes to call those who are "a little lower than the angels", the lost human race.

Just as a woman who has lost a drachma carefully sweeps the floor in order to find it, so the Lord goes around the sinful earth in order to cleanse it.

In the midst of angelic chants, God heard the groan of suffering humanity, and from the fullness of the glory of heaven He sees the blackness of the earth.

And the Lord comes, goes to give heavenly glory to the earth, and angelic blessedness to people.

With what gratitude our hearts should be filled towards Him! With what a loud salutation from the depths of our souls we must greet Christ. Indeed, His love extends to each of us, and He wants to raise each of us to heaven.

With what shall we meet Him? What worthy gifts shall we bring to Him?

“What shall we bring Thee, O Christ, as thou hast appeared on earth, as a man, for our sake?”

The whole creation of God hastens to bow to the newborn King, its Creator. Angels bring Him singing, the sky - a star, the Magi - gifts, the shepherds - reverent amazement, the earth - a cave, the desert - a manger, the human race - the Virgin Mother.

What will each of us bring especially from ourselves?

“With what shall I stand before the Lord, bow down before the God of Heaven? Should I stand before Him with a burnt offering, with one-year-old calves?” (Micah 6:6), the Moabite king Balak once asked.

"Oh man! It has been told you what is good and what the Lord requires of you: only act justly, love the deeds of mercy, and walk humbly before your God” (Micah 6:8). "Offer the sacrifice of God's praise and fulfill your vows to the Most High" (Ps. 49:14).

Therefore, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of a mouth that glorifies His name. “But at the same time, let us not forget doing good and sharing, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Heb. 13:15-16).

The Lord opened the heavens for us on earth.

Let us open our souls and our hearts to the Lord. Let our lips proclaim to Him singing and praise, but let our hands do works of mercy.

To the Lord lying in the manger, together with doxology and praise, let us each bring from our hearts some kind of good deed.

May the joy of the whole world fill the heart of everyone, driving away the sorrows of life around us and raising our minds and aspirations to heaven. For from there a joyful angelic gospel is heard:

“Today there is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.