The Prelate’s Sermon, January 9, 2022
As the faithful of the Armenian Apostolic Church, along with our brothers and sisters around the world, we are celebrating the Nativity and Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ and thanking the Almighty Lord for His divine Gift to mankind, which surpasses all human limits and understanding, because it was unprecedented in its nature, in its character and in its mission, for as St. Paul says, He emptied Himself of His glory for our sake (Phil 2:7).
I would like to share the following thoughts derived from this blessing heavenly Revelation.
First, the scene of Nativity originally was not as cozy as represented by later artists. For the Angels and all Celestial Bodies it was shocking to witness as the One, whom they unceasingly praised, was being humbled in the manger; yet trusting in God, they knew that it was a supreme act of Love. Indeed, the Nativity is the most authentic and true revelation of God’s essence which is Love, and the proclamation of that love for all of Creation. We cannot understand God unless we contemplate the true nature of Love, a fact which is so valid also in our daily life. Without love, we would never understand the sacrifice we make for our families, for our homeland, and for our values. Love is the key which allows us to comprehend the motivation for Creation, for the Incarnation of the Word of God, and for the great plan of Eternity.
Second, the Nativity as the solid sign of God’s love has a clear purpose: the salvation of mankind. We cannot penetrate the depth of this Divine sacrifice without acknowledging the salvation of our nature from the bond of sin. God has designed us to be free, and to live freely and joyfully according to His commandments. Due to the Fall, we have failed our Creator; thus we have been alienated from our own nature and from Him. The Incarnation of the Word of God is the only way to be freed from the power of this most catastrophic failure that is sin, and to bring our nature back on its right track, to follow its original path righteously.
Third, this Love, revealed through the supreme humility of the Most High, is an open invitation to one and all. No one has reason to reject it based upon their intellect, background, race or whatever argument may arise. To do so means that, consciously or unconsciously, one blinds their intellectual and spiritual eyes, and actually becomes their own enemy depriving themselves to enjoy the goodness of God’s unconditional gifts here and in the hereafter.
Fourth, the feast of Nativity reminds us of our mission as Christians to be the light and salt of this world. Today the globalized world needs activists for love, charity, and understanding more than ever. What we have been witnessing since the new millennium is signaling the shaking of our society’s foundations due to the lack of Divine values. It is time for us to do more than preach, and to be authentic to our Christian nature to enlighten the world, to bring positive change to our society.
On this solemn feast of the fulfillment of the prophecy, that “for to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is 9:6), let us humbly follow in the footsteps of the shepherds toward the manger, trusting the Good News of the Angels. Let us escort the Magi, who were men of knowledge and science of earthly things and celestial bodies, to meet the King of kings and the Lord of lords; to meet a Baby in whom all the mysteries of Past, Present and Future are unveiled, and in whom we discover the fulfillment of all promises of peace and joy, understanding and cooperation, prosperity and progress on individual, collective and universal levels.
May the spirit of humility prevail in our thoughts and actions, and be manifested in our behavior and relationships, worthily praising along with the Angels the Lord of lords and the King of kings with the Almighty Father through the Holy Spirit.