December 31, 2022

1955 Nativity Message of St. John Maximovitch

1955 Christmas Message

By St. John Maximovitch

“When Jesus the Lord was born of the holy Virgin, the whole world was enlightened. The shepherds watched in the fields, the Magi adored and the angels sang hymns of praise; but Herod was troubled: for God appeared in the flesh, the Savior of our souls.” (Christmas Great Vespers)

The invisible God put on a body and visibly appeared on earth.

The angels rejoice in heaven, seeing their Creator God, whose glory they cannot even look at. The people on earth rejoice too. “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10), the angel proclaims to the shepherds. The shepherds glorify and praise God, seeing the Infant lying in the manger.

Magi from the East flow to Bethlehem, seeing a star announcing the birth of the King of Kings, and falling down before Him they worship Him, bringing their gifts.

Rejoice, righteous ones, rejoice, all who love Zion!

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord, who appeared on earth for our sake!

All creation gives thanks to Him. Heaven and earth are united today in His praise. God came to save His creation from evil and destruction.

Only the evil that is generated by the prince of this world trembles. When the angels sang, and the shepherds praised and the Magi worshiped, Herod was restless. He is looking for the soul of the Newborn Child and, not finding Him, massacres innocent babies.

Much crying and sobbing and wailing are heard in Rama and are combined with the praise of the angels.

The first great sacrifice of the Most Pure Nativity of Christ was babies.

Instead of a gift, Herod brought his malice to Christ. But having snatched away the babies from the hands of their mothers, he could not snatch their souls from the Right Hand of the One who lay in the manger.

The Eternal Infant received His peers, who gave their earthly lives for Him, into His eternal glorious Kingdom. They rejoice in it and are merry. Herod tried in vain to kill the Source of life, anticipating the Christ-killers Caiaphas and Pilate.

In due time, He accepted death for the entire human race, opening the gates of heaven, He Who now descended to earth. He calls everyone to enjoy the heavenly food.

The malice of the enemies of Christ rages even now.

Crying, wailing and sobs are heard in the Orthodox enslaved countries. Pretending to be pious, like Herod, they seek to kill the faith of Christ, trying to deceive those who worship Him, like the magi, or in rage they put to death, like the babies of Bethlehem!

The Greeks have just been massacred and the shrines still remaining there in the city of Emperor Constantine have been destroyed, just as they have been destroyed in our Fatherland.

But those who suffered for the name of Christ rejoice with the babies, and those who are faithful to Him will be glorified with the Magi!

Let us hasten now to Him who has descended from heaven and glorify Him, crying out: You who were Incarnate for us, Lord, glory to Thee!

Christ is born!


Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.