December 20, 2022

Homily Before Christmas (St. John of Kronstadt)

 By St. John of Kronstadt

Behold, beloved, the feast of the Nativity of Christ is near. Let us take care how to meet Him in a Christian, spiritual way. I know in advance how you intend to meet him: you will soon go to the markets and will bake there and talk about a lot, about the many different dishes of the feast, or you will only care about how to decorate your body with festive clothes, but one thing is needed (Luke 10:41): the thought of how to delight your soul with a spiritual blessing on the upcoming feast, how to decorate it with bright thoughts, or in a few words, how to be more worthy to meet and spend the feast - this rarely comes to anyone's mind. The flour, beloved, is always with us, and our clothes are also always with us, but the feast of the Lord is not always; therefore, we will not care much about the flour and clothes, but we will take care to be ready to meet the Most Pure Heavenly King. Let us all take care that we have a worthy, spiritual meeting of the upcoming feast. We have been singing for a long time: "Christ is born..." about why the Son of God came down to earth; why He was incarnated of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became a man, without ceasing to be God.

For what? - For this reason: God above is on the ground below, but He will raise us to heaven, says the holy Church. Remember everything and deepen in your hearts this thought that the Son of God came down to earth in order to save us from sin and eternal death and to lead us to heaven, i.e. where there is eternal life, eternal blessedness. And if Christ came down to us in order to raise us up to heaven, then we must in advance more often ascend there with thoughts and heart desires, and gradually renounce with our souls everything that binds us to the earth - to this country of exile, in which there are so many temptations, disasters, illnesses, sorrows, which in all its transience, we see only sins and temptations, and death with all its horrors.

Therefore, before the feast of the Nativity of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ arrives, let us adorn our souls with sobriety and purity of our hearts, so that when Christ appears from heaven, we will worthily meet His birth. Be attentive to yourself: soon Christ will be on earth - then ascend with thoughts and hearts from the earth to God and sing with joy the great mystery of the Nativity of the God-man. When you meet the feast with such thoughts and with such a disposition of your heart: then you will meet it with dignity, in a Christian way and with benefit to your soul. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.