Nativity epistle of His Eminence, Archbishop Gabriel. 2017

05:05 PM

To the clergy and all the faithful flock of the Canadian diocese Beloved in Christ brothers and sisters!

The narration found in Holy Scripture about the event of the Nativity of Christ is, in fact, a narration of joy. The first to experience this joy were the poor shepherds out in the fields, who were watching their flocks in the night.
The dedication they showed to their work was rewarded by God with wondrous joy when: “lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them… And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke
2: 9-14).
Thus, the Almighty God, by willing to be incarnate in a poor manger, again bestowed His goodwill on human humility and impoverishment.
Beloved brothers and sisters, we see that the uneducated and destitute shepherds were counted worthy to see a Divine Mystery. They listened to the never before heard words of the angels, which the Holy Orthodox Church has sung from the beginning of its service. The shepherds with their own eyes saw God the Good Shepherd and were first to preach His birth (Luke 2: 16-20).
After the shepherds the Nativity joy descended on the Magi, wisemen from the east, who waited for the Saviour, while not being members of the Chosen People. This in turn made them second-class citizens in the eyes of the Scribes and Pharisees. Despite this, the Lord showed them the way to the holy cave, where “they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Matthew 2: 10-11). The Nativity joy of those who are always with Christ, is a stark contrast to the anger, disquiet, and fury which darkened the souls of those who feared the True King and strived to find and kill Him (Matthew 2: 3-4, 16). The Lord was incarnate and came down to earth exactly as it was foretold in Holy Scripture and in agreement with the words of God’s holy prophets and when this became imperative for our world.
We also cannot but participate in the joy of the birth of Christ, for it has made our salvation possible.
Beloved brothers and sisters, let us pray to the new born Lord and Christ, His All-pure Mother, that we stay faithful to Christ’s salvific teaching and, in such a way, are vouchsafed Grace and eternal joy, which were granted by our Lord to His faithful and humble servants at the manger.

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Archbishop of Montreal and Canada