December 25, 2022

The Humble Message of Christmas (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)

By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

(Delivered in 1986 at Gregoriou Monastery)

In the entire mystery of the incarnate economy of the Lord, which we experienced today and truly enjoyed, as well as with the successful passing of the holy fast and the joyful arrival at this festival, which the sacred Chrysostom calls the Metropolis of Feasts [i.e. Mother of all the feasts of the Church], we admire the love of God the Father towards His creature, man. And we don't just admire. We are astonished when we see that the all-good God, rich in His divinity, entered the poverty and sickness of human flesh, to give us His Grace and union with Him.

But what makes a special impression on us is that the Lord reveals Himself to humble souls. The Shepherds who saw him were humble, simple in heart. Joseph, the betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos, was also a humble soul. The Theotokos herself was full of humility. But even the Magi from the east, although they were wise people, they too had simple and humble souls. On the contrary, the people who had confidence in themselves, in their logic, in their powers, in their wisdom, in their worldly authority, such as Herod, the rulers of Israel, the ruling class of Jerusalem, they could not see Jesus and meet Him, although they made desperate efforts, because they wanted to exterminate Him.

This, my brothers and fathers, is done in every generation. Every humble soul, every simple soul can meet, know and unite with the humble Jesus. But also every proud, self-righteous, self-satisfied soul cannot meet and know and rest in the lowly Jesus. Because Jesus is humble, only the humble can experience Him.

And this, I think, is something that concerns our Christian life as well as our monastic life. We also came here to the Holy Mountain, like the Magi from the east or like the Shepherds, who heard from the angel that Jesus the Lord, the Messiah, was born. And we came here, to worship the humble Jesus and live close to Him all our lives. What a great blessing indeed! To make it our life's work to live continually with Jesus. But what will facilitate our encounter and daily conversion with the humble Jesus will be our own humility. Even if we depart from the world, if we renounce what we have renounced, yet we do not cultivate deep in our hearts blessed humility, we shall have no place with the lowly Jesus.

Therefore, let us ask for this Grace today from the humble Jesus; to give us also this blessed humility, not an appearance of humility, not external forms of humility, but the deeply humbled heart, which our holy Fathers explain to us what it means. And let us also ask Him to illuminate with the Light of His love, His mercy, His Grace our Monastery and the Holy Mountain, but also our homeland, and the whole world, because wherever Jesus Christ comes, there is light and peace and joy and rest in the hearts of men.

As in every great feast, this year too it is natural to turn the gaze of our soul towards all our brethren who are hurting, suffering, living difficult moments of their lives. And there are many of our brethren today in the world, all over the earth, who are suffering. Let us ask the Lord especially today to give a ray of hope to all suffering people, a consolation and a light. But above all, let us ask him to enlighten those who are well-intentioned people and do not know Him, to come to know Him, to live in the Light of His love, His joy and His peace. We wish everyone the rich blessing of our Newborn Lord and God.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.