December 31, 2014
Reverend Clergy and the Faithful of the Holy and God-protected Metropolis of Atlanta
Beloved in the Lord,
“God is on earth, He is among men, not in the fire nor amid the sound of trumpets; not in the smoking mountain, or in the darkness, or in the terrible and roaring tempest giving the Law, but manifested in the flesh, the gentle and good One dwells with those He condescends to make His equals! God is in the flesh, not operating from a distance, as did the prophets, but through Him human nature, one with ours, He seeks to bring back all mankind to Himself.”
– St. Basil the Great “On the Incarnation”
Christ is Born – Glorify Him!
I greet you with love and joy in the Name of our Incarnate Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
As we prepare to celebrate the glorious Feast Day of Epiphany and are still at the beginning of the New Year, it seems scarcely possible that another year has already gone by. As we enter the Year of our Lord 2015, with all the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, it is a natural time for us to think about and reflect on where we are and where we wish to be, in our lives and our families, in our work, personally and above all, spiritually.
Every day we make decisions, both great and small, that affect our future, and if we are truly serious about being a Christian, a follower of Christ, we must allow ourselves to be transformed into His image, no longer living by our own wills, but by the will of God. This process of transformation confronts us every day of our lives as Orthodox Christians: in the course of a year, how many opportunities have we missed to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves? Thanks be to God, for in His mercy, He enables us to overcome our failures and mistakes by giving us the grace to live our lives in Him. So that, as St. Paul said in his Epistle to the Galatians, “…it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
In this spirit, I ask you to join me in prayer, that we enter this New Year 2015 with faith and confidence, praying that the Lord will grant us the time to receive Him in our own hearts, and His abundant blessings of hope and grace. Let us resolve to lead lives of love, honesty and compassion, cherishing our Orthodox Christian values, learning from our sins and mistakes, and caring for others.
May the Lord guide us as we begin our journey through the New Year! Constantly remembering you in prayer with love, and asking for your prayers, I remain,
With paternal blessings and much love in our Incarnate Lord,
Metropolitan of Atlanta