Nativity Season Matins Ode 5:
“Being the God of Peace…You sent us Your Angel …granting us peace…Wherefore, rising from darkness being led to the light of divine knowledge, we glorify You…”
Adam and Eve were the first ‘children of God’, who were in the Garden of Eden, a beautiful and glorious Paradise. But by their sin of disobedience they became outcasts from Paradise, and mankind was plunged into a state of sin, evil and death. God, the heavenly Father, in His great love, came to earth to raise mankind from this lowly state. As St. John Chrysostom writes, “He in nothing diminished His own nature by this condescension, but raised us, who had always sat in disgrace and darkness, to glory unspeakable.”
It is the Incarnation of God that raises us from sinfulness, dishonor, and darkness to great glory to become sons, heirs of the heavenly kingdom. Faith is the vital factor in our praise, our proclamation of the Babe of Bethlehem as our Savior and as the Savior of mankind. Christmas is not merely a promise, but already a fulfillment. Christ, God’s priceless gift to us, is already given! We have the assurance that Christ lives and embraces us with His love. All that is needed is to receive His gift by faith, an open heart and obedience. Without accepting the call of Christ, without receiving the loving forgiveness of the One who was Crucified for us, Christmas is an unfulfilled expectation. Only as Christ is born in our hearts, which become new by His grace, may we truly experience the essence of Christmas, the joyful festival of God’s presence in our midst.