The Feast of the Nativity of Christ (Part I)

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.

THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST
By Saint Leo the Great

Our Savior, dearly-beloved, was born today (Christmas day): let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one kept from sharing in this happiness. There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord, the destroyer of sin and death, finds none free from the charge, so He comes to free us all. Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is invited to being pardon. Let the gentile take courage in that he is called to life. For the Son of God in the fullness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author, in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered. And in this conflict undertaken for us, the fight was fought on great and wondrous principles of fairness.

Truly foreign to this nativity is that which we read of all others: "no one is clean from stain, not even the infant who has lived but one day upon earth." Nothing therefore of the lust of the flesh has passed into that peerless nativity, nothing of the law of sin has entered. A royal Virgin of the stem of David is chosen, to be impregnated with the Sacred seed and to conceive the Divinely-human offspring in mind first and the body: she learns from the Angel that what is to be wrought in her is of the Holy Spirit. Nor does she believe it loss of honor that she is soon to be the Mother of God. Her implicit faith is confirmed also by the attesting of a miracle, and Elizabeth receives unexpected fertility: in order that there might be no doubt that He Who had given conception to the barren, would give it even to a virgin.

Therefore the Logos/Word of God, Himself God, the Son of God Who "in the beginning with God," through whom "all things were made" and "without" Whom "was nothing made," with the purpose of delivering man from eternal death, became man: The True God and True man were combined to form one Lord, so that, as suited the needs of our case, one and the same Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, could both die with the one and rise again with the other.

Rightly therefore did the birth of our Salvation impart no corruption to the Virgin's purity, because the bearing of the Truth was the keeping of honor. Such then beloved was the nativity which became the Power of God and the Wisdom of God even Christ, whereby He might be one with us in manhood and surpass us in Godhead. For unless He were True God, He would not bring us a remedy: unless He were True Man, He would not give us an example. Therefore the exulting Angel's song when the Lord was born is this, "Glory to God in the Highest," and their message, "peace on earth to men of good will." For they see that the heavenly Jerusalem is being built up out of all the nations of the world: and over that indescribable work of the Divine love how ought the humbleness of men to rejoice, when the joy of the lofty Angels is so great?

Christians then must live worthily of Christ their Head.

Let us then, dearly beloved, give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Spirit, Who "for His great mercy, wherewith He has loved us," had pity on us: and "when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together in Christ," that we might be in Him a new creation and a new production. Let us put off then the old man with his deeds: and having obtained a share in the birth of Christ let us renounce the works of the flesh. Christian, acknowledge your dignity, and becoming a partner in the Divine Nature, refuse to return to the old baseness by degenerate conduct. Remember the Head and the Body of which you are a member. Remember that you were rescued from the power of darkness and brought out into God's Light and Kingdom. By the Mystery (Sacrament) of Baptism you were made the temple of the Holy Spirit: and do not subject yourself once more the devil; because your purchase money is the blood of Christ, because He shall judge you in truth Who ransomed you in mercy, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit reigns forever and ever...

"...Therefore, when the time came, dearly beloved, which had been fore-ordained for men's redemption, the Son of God enters these lower parts of the world, descending from His Heavenly Throne and yet not quitting His Father's glory, begotten in a new order, by a new nativity. In a new order, because being invisible in His own nature He became visible in ours, and He Whom nothing could contain, was content to be contained: abiding before all time He began to be in time: the Lord of all things, He obscured His immeasurable Majesty and took on Him the form of a servant: being God, that cannot suffer, He did not disdain to be man that can, and immortal as He is, to subject Himself to the laws of death. And by a new nativity He was begotten, conceived by a Virgin, born of a Virgin, without paternal desire, without injury to the mother's chastity: because such a birth as knew no taint of human flesh, became One Who was to be the Savior of men, while it possessed in itself the nature of human substance. For when God was born in the flesh, God Himself was the Father, as the Archangel witnessed to the Blessed Virgin Mary: "because the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: and therefore, that which shall be born of thee shall be called Holy, the Son of God." The origin is different but the nature like: not with man but by the power of God was it brought about: for a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bare, and a Virgin she remained...

"...For the Lord Jesus Christ came to do away with not to endure our pollutions: not to succumb to our faults but heal them. He came that He might cure every weakness of our corruptness and all the sores of our defiled souls: for which reason it behooved Him to be born by a new order, who brought to men's bodies the new gift of unsullied purity. For the incorrupt nature of Him that was born had to guard the primal virginity of the Mother, and the infused power of the Divine Spirit had to preserve in spotlessness and holiness that sanctuary which He has chosen for Himself: that Spirit (I say) who had determined to raise the fallen to restore the broken, and by overcoming the allurements of the flesh to bestow on us in abundant measure the power of chastity; in order that the virginity which in others cannot be retained in childbearing, might be attained by them at their second birth.

Justice required that Satan be vanquished by God made man. And, dearly beloved, this very fact that Christ chose to be born of a Virgin does it not appear to be part of the deepest design? For though the True mercy of God had infinitely many schemes to hand for the restoration of mankind, it chose that particular design which put in force for the destroying of the devil's work, not the efficacy of might but the dictate of justice. For the pride of the ancient foe not undeservedly made good its despotic rights over all men, and tyrannized over those who had been of their own accord lured away from God's commands to be the slaves of his will. And to this end, without male seed Christ was conceived of a Virgin, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And whereas in all mothers conception does not take place without stain of sin, this one received purification from the Source of her conception. Her unsullied virginity knew no lust when it ministered the substance. The Lord took from His mother our nature, not our fault.

(To be continued)

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The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George