Christmas Greetings – 2017
May the Peace, Love and Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you!
Christmas is a wonderful time when we observe special moments we normally do not enjoy during other times of the year. We decorate our homes, shop for gifts, prepare delicious meals, gather with family and friends for Christmas dinner, sing delightful Christmas carols and songs and watch special Christmas movies. Yet while we participate in these special traditions, we first must understand the reason this time of year is so special, the reason we take part in these “extraordinary” customs.
The second chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke describes the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We learn in those days Caesar Augustus “published a decree ordering a census of the whole world.” Therefore, Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem because Joseph belonged to the house of David. While they were there, the time came for Mary to give birth to Jesus, “… and she gave birth to her first-born son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn” (Lc. 2, 7).
This reading from St. Luke’s Gospel is an account that really amazes me, “… there was no room for them in the inn.”
Could it be that the God-Creator could not find a room for Himself in his own creation?
The inn was a place where people gathered to discuss different problems in their lives and to share public opinions and moods. The inn also served as a site where worldly ideas intertwined among rich and successful people. Life at the inn was busy and fast, so busy and fast that gatherers ignored a young couple – Joseph and a pregnant Mary – who requested lodging there for she was near her time. They received but a simple answer – we have no room for you. No compassion, no mercy, no hospitality. No room for God in a place where worldly problems, businesses and worries were life’s top priority.
My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we must remember that we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas! Our families gather to commemorate one of human history’s greatest events! Christmas is a special time when we sing carols to proclaim the Glory of God, proclaim the Good News that our Savior is born to redeem us from our sins! Christmas is a distinct occasion when God reveals to us Himself and his love for us!
I wholeheartedly wish you, my dear brethren, that our homes, families and hearts will be open to Jesus Christ, that you always will have a room for HIM, our Savior. Let us set aside our worldly problems, businesses and worries during this Christmas season. Make it your top priority together to celebrate the birth of our Lord in church and in prayer to proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Christ is Born!
Fr. Vasyl Symyon