January 5, 2023

Christ Is Born, Glorify Him! (St. John Maximovitch)

By St. John Maximovitch
Christ is born, glorify Him!

“You were secretly born in a cave, but the heavens proclaimed You to all, O Savior, using the star as its mouth.”

Quietly, silently, the Son of God descended to earth and incarnated. Like a drop of dew falls on the ground, so the Power of the Most High overshadowed the Most Pure Virgin, and the Savior of the world was born from Her.

But the world did not notice the great work done by God. People were each busy with their own concerns, their attention was directed to the affairs of life and to high-profile worldly events.

Rome strengthened its power over the peoples and its state power. Greece developed the arts and indulged in the refined service of the flesh. The Eastern peoples tried to find answers to all the inquiries of the spirit in the phenomena of nature.

The Jews ardently longed for liberation from foreign power and waited for a deliverer in the person of the Messiah - the earthly king.

However, the affairs of life did not give satisfaction to people, even when they were successful. The “longing of the spirit” for truth was felt more and more strongly, and it was felt that the world, mired in vanity and vices, was about to perish.

Not only the Jews were waiting for a deliverer; but the best of the Gentiles were waiting for someone who would save mankind from destruction.

But each in his own way imagined His coming, and, being carnal themselves, could not think of the spiritual. “The Jews ask for a sign, and the Greeks seek wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22).

No one was waiting for the Savior, meek and humble in heart, clothed not with earthly, but with heavenly glory.

And this was exactly why He “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

It was not by external force or arrogant wisdom that He came to reign over the nations, not as “a frightening ghost” (Prayer for Blessing of W.ater), but in the form of a slave the Savior came to take upon Himself the sin of Adam, to bear the burden of man, being accessible to everyone.

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45; Matt. 20:28).

Accordingly, He is born in a cave, in a small city, where, at the time of the census, the family of the poor carpenter righteous Joseph, rich only in virtues, arrived.

None of those living on earth imagined that in such squalor the Redeemer would appear and that the Reigning over all creatures would come to people.

And even the prince of this world of that time, the proud opponent of God - the devil, turned out to be deceived and did not recognize in the Newborn the One Whom he envied when he was still an angel. The eternal secret about the salvation of the human race, hidden from his power, could be known only by those who heed the voice from heaven and fix their eyes there.

The shepherds heard the angels singing about the coming in the flesh of Christ, those poor shepherds of Bethlehem, whose only source of wisdom was the open book of the wisdom of God, revealed in the beauty of His creations, untouched by the sinful hand of man.

And to the rest of mankind, who did not hear the angelic singing, the sky, with the bright light of the star that shone in it, as if by mouth announced that He was “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9-11).

Heaven spoke to all, proclaiming the glory of God. But only the magi kings, who sought in it revelations of God's judgments and were ready to go anyywhere to find the truth, "understood the voice of heaven." Having collected their treasures in order to present them as a gift to the newborn King, they left their thrones, left their native land and went, not knowing where, following only the course of the star, which announced to them the path to the Eternal Kingdom.

The path was hard, but the light of the star of Bethlehem illuminated it. And the "wise men-magi", overcoming all obstacles, traveled along the paths indicated by the sky, "having renounced their will". The star led them to Jerusalem, where they heard the written word of God, and then to Bethlehem, where they saw the Word incarnate, God in the flesh, and worshiped the Sun of Truth.

The world continued to rage with its passions.

Herod, learning about the birth of the eternal King, sought to kill Him; not finding Him, he killed many babies, but he could not kill the one Secretly Born in the Cave.

This mystery for those who live according to the elements of this world remained a mystery. “He lived among the people, but they did not know Him” (John 1:31).

Only gradually did He reveal Himself to a pure heart, seeking the truth, ready to stand for the truth, revealing Himself to those who desired purification of the heart, who were ready to submit their will to the will of Heaven.

And the time has come - the light of Bethlehem lit up all the ends of the universe.

Now the world is raging again! Some would be ready to kill the Baby and try to erase His Name, others seem not to notice Him. But He stands in the midst of us, revealing Himself to those who "keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart." “Tongues stagger in vain and people are taught in vain! With an iron rod, like the vessels of the poor, He will crush those who anger Him."

And the star of Bethlehem again shines invisibly over the world, calling on all peoples and every person to direct their gaze to heaven, to have a heart, to fall down to the Newborn and rejoice with great joy, for God is with us! “God is with us, understand this Gentiles, and submit: for God is with us!”

Christ is born!
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.