“For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word;
Taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit;
and so He bestowing and I receiving,
He prepares for me the treasure of Life.
He takes my flesh, to sanctify me;
He gives me His Spirit that He may save me.”
St. John Chrysostom
My dearly beloved in the Lord,
As we prepare to celebrate our Lord’s Incarnation, I greet you with love and joy and I glorify our Lord Jesus Christ for blessing me with the great opportunity to serve you, the Clergy and Faithful of our Holy Metropolis of Atlanta, and to share with you once again in the joy of His Blessed Nativity.
At this holy season, we celebrate and proclaim that on this day, “for us and for our salvation,” was born the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God. God has become one of us, as St. John Chrysostom says, “He took on our flesh to make us holy,” and gave us His Spirit so that we can be reconciled with our Creator and enter into eternal life with Him. It was Divine Love, the love of God for all of us, that made this great miracle possible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: l6).
With His coming, we have hope for true joy, for peace among men, for eternal life in His kingdom. This is the moment when the immortal is joined with the mortal, eternal life with mortal life – the great mystery of God’s becoming like us, so He can transform us to become like Him, overcoming our mortality and becoming fully alive in Him: “He establishes a path for us, whereby we may mount up to heaven.” (Canon of the Nativity)
My beloved ones, God has given us this profound gift of life and salvation. Let us respond by opening our hearts to Him so He can transform us into what we were created to be, what God meant us to be, children of our Heavenly Father and partakers of His Divine Nature.
I wish all of you a blessed Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year and I pray that the joy of His Nativity will fill your hearts with gratitude to God for the love that he gives us in the birth of his Son into our world.
Amen. Christ is born, let us glorify Him!
I remain, with paternal blessings and with much love in our Incarnate Lord,
Metropolitan of Atlanta