Σάββατο, 24 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos)'s Christmas Message 2016



The feast comes once again this year. There are many people in the world today who search for an answer to their many questions. There is a great spiritual thirst that cannot be quenched by anything or anyone. This is the tragedy: many are at the brink of despair and some wonder where the wave of terror today is coming from! It is as though modern life has no meaning. Where can we find consolation that will free man from the fog, when "one thing is needed" (Luke 10:42)?

Christians in the world today, both east and west, "have a form of godliness but deny its power" (2 Timothy 3:5). Most of them, in terms of their leaders, place us in the Middle East in a furnace of hellish flame.

Into such a climate comes the feast, the feast of the birth of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ in a manger for livestock. Is this eternal truth born in our hearts amidst worldly clamor? Of course, we will seek distraction in the temptations of this world in terms of food, drink, clothing and gifts... I am not here to make a condemnation of human customs. But I wanted to warn the faithful about a lifestyle dominated by the destructive spirit of consumption, in which they forget their painful situation on the one hand, and the truth of their divine faith on the other hand.

Beloved, today we are living amidst a new paganism. Worship is not given to the true God, nor is there worship of idols carved from stone. Rather, we have placed before ourselves the god of money and of contingent, material things, the god of war and of many ways of killing with airplanes and advanced warships...

My hope, beloved brothers, is that the holiday season will not pass without us contemplating the meaning of the feast and its benefits for our life, which help us amidst the surrounding social activity to find time for ourselves for quiet, conscious prayer, whether in personal contemplation or at a service in the church. The feasts of the saints preceding the feast help; the story of the feast of the Lord in the Gospel, as well as its service at vespers and matins also help. What does all this inspire us to? How should we live? How should we behave? How do we read current world events in light of divine revelation? These are all questions that can be pondered which will help us weak humans to ascend to God's heaven. Perhaps we will embrace in our hearts this coming divine Man who emptied Himself and humbled Himself to the point of death for our salvation.

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