December 28, 2022

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

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"It is easier for us to be content with silence out of fear, which is harmless. However, to weave praises and hymns of desire for You, Virgin, harmoniously matched is difficult and dangerous. But, Mother, as much as our intention is, so give us your own strength." (Christmas Canon of St. John of Damascus, Ode 9)

Songs in honor of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ are ready: the holy fathers wrote them, put them together; the Holy Church saved them - for us. But are we, the listeners, ready to sing these divine songs? Are our lips pure? Is the tongue pure? Is the heart pure? Is the soul pure? For six weeks the Holy Church prepared us for the singing of songs in honor of the Nativity of Christ; but even during these six weeks, have we kept our mouths from judging our neighbors? Were our hearts kept from sinful desires? Have our tongues been curbed from obscene words? Were our souls protected from unclean thoughts? At least during these six weeks of holy fasting, did they resort to fasting and prayer, to tears and repentance in order to purify themselves from all kinds of defilements of the flesh and spirit?

Yes, the festival has come, and songs in honor of it are ready; but we, it seems, are not yet ready to celebrate the holy feast and are not ready to sing divine songs. When will we get ready? Oh, how could we not go to the other world so unprepared! There is blessedness in that everyone is constantly singing and glorifying the Lord, but we will not be able to sing, or we will be bored from singing, as we sometimes get bored here.

The feast of the Nativity of Christ has come, and the songs in honor of it are ready, but we ... What should we do? Let us celebrate, let us also unprepared sing songs in honor of the Nativity of Christ, prepared for us by others: these divine songs are so holy that even through their singing our soul can be illuminated; these divine songs are so pure that by listening to them our heart can be cleansed; they are so fragrant with grace that even through our attention to them we can be filled with grace.

So, listeners, sing to our God, sing - sing to our King, sing! But you, Virgin Mother of God, if there is any will, give us the strength to sing divine songs in honor of the Christ who was born from You. Amen.