Homily on the Nativity of our Lord
at the completion of Divine Liturgy
December 25, 2020 / January 7, 2021
by His Grace Luke,
Bishop of Syracuse
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
The Gospel account of the Nativity of Christ is filled with joy and light. In the sky, we see the angelic star, the host of angels appear in glory, hymning the Newborn Saviour, bringing peace on earth, good will toward men.1 The Church proclaims, “Be glad, O ye righteous! Rejoice, O Heavens, leap up ye mountains, for Christ hath been born!” Our hearts are moved to sweet compunction when we see the humble, modest surroundings in the cave where the Christ-child desired to be born, not simply a child, but the God-child, before whom angels and men worship.
Once again, today we must remind ourselves of the reason for this celebration. The Lord tells us that He was born to suffer, die and resurrect, to save us from hell and eternal torment. Does anyone even briefly pause to reflect on hell, judgement, eternity, and the need to give an answer to God for our life? Sadly — especially now, with the current health issues — people think only of physical death; they live in fear, horror, anxiety, trepidation. However, we Orthodox Christians recall the words of our Saviour in the Gospel to not fear visible or invisible enemies who can kill only the body, but rather to fear God, Who can kill the body and send the soul to hell.2
Our contemporary culture, a culture of spiritual death, would have us completely forget this reality. Let us, dear brothers and sisters, resist the temptation to embrace this spiritually dead culture and thus become infected with the virus which will kill our soul for eternity. How sad that those we love, our relatives, neighbors, friends, and government leaders are mortally sick with a spiritual poison! How can we possibly help them? The Lord does not want even one of them to perish.
Rejoice we must today, giving thanks to God Who is born in the flesh and offers us an antidote — a vaccine to cure us of the spiritual poison the devil has given us. What is this cure? It is a life according to Christ’s commandments and, most especially, to respond when he calls to us, Take, eat… and drink ye all of it…3