On December 29, Patriarch John X celebrated the Sunday after Nativity in the Church of the Holy Cross – Sharqi Tijara in Damascus. Patriarch John started his homily by giving his wishes for the feast of Nativity and for a New Year of peace and prosperity. He explained that we celebrate the Nativity of the Lord Jesus who was incarnate and became a human being like us, except for sin. Patriarch John highlighted light and joy as main the message of the liturgical chants of Nativity. “Rejoice O you righteous ones.” “Nativity is the feast of joy, of peace, of love,” he said, “because in Nativity we realize the big ineffable love of God for humankind.” “God did not leave the human being to die in sin; He promised a Savior. God fulfilled this promise and sent His Only Begotten Son to be incarnate from the Virgin Mary.”
“I would like today to ponder upon the following: Is the feast a date, once a year? Does it come one day then goes with December 26? Indeed, the feast is a historical fact. However, the significance of the feast does not end like that. This historical event is divine, is salvific. It is the mystery of God’s economy for salvation”.
Patriarch John said that the appearances of joy only express the inner joy, because the Lord was born of the Virgin Mary as a Savior to humankind. One should stop and meditate on this love of God, on His Economy of Salvation, to reflect how God suffered the Cross, and then resurrected. “We should ask ourselves: how do I give back all that God did for me” There is a chant that asks: What shall we offer Thee O Christ?… I ask myself: What shall I offer you O Christ, Who came to us? Shall I offer you a passing joy that withers after the feast celebrations and then all is gone and we return to our suffering?” Patriarch John replied that Nativity is an event of the heart that does not move but dwells in us. “Our heart should be like the cave where the Lord Jesus can dwell when our hearts, thoughts, and actions become holy and pure when we dwell in good deeds.” Patriarch John taught that the meaning of our Christian life is that we are renewed and Christ-like. Being Christians is that we are all from the element of Christ. “Any word, thought, or action, at home, with my children, at work, every act should be Christianized, plunged into Christ.”
In this world, we only see bad news, but when Nativity comes, as a light from heaven that gushes into all with the light and gives joy and hope. Then people see that Christians smile, love each other, and are at peace; they glorify God.
Patriarch John prayed for peace and prosperity in Syria, Lebanon, the suffering Lebanon, and wished that politicians and policymakers understand the meaning of politics. He inquired about the Human Rights and questioned those in Europe and the United Nations about all the injustice, mentioning Bishops Youhanna and Paul of Aleppo. “Governance should be for the good of countries and their people.”
Source: Patriarchate of Antioch