Christ is born. Glorify Him!

Together we ponder…..
The Word made flesh dwells among us…the one great mediator between God and man, Himself a man, Jesus Christ. Christ is Born! Glorify Him!  December 2015 and we celebrate the Nativity of the Son of God. Christmas is an eternal TODAY.  Today God fulfills the promise made to  patriarchs and holy men of old. In faith we are their posterity. We rejoice!   "The grace of God has appeared among men -today!"

On that first Christmas night, who was aware of the magnitude of that birth? Certainly his Mother Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds instructed by Angels, the Magi already following the star, the parents of John the Baptist, and  Simeon the Elder who would see the  Messiah before  death!  Mary, in her Magnificat, and Zachary's Benedictus, praise  the Lord God of Israel for remembering His covenant and fulfilling an oath He swore to Abraham and his posterity. The journey of mankind to Bethlehem began when God promised Adam and Eve a redeemer. Jesus' birth marked the fulfillment of the ancient  promises. Now we live in the "fullness of time" and our journey is into the future.  But  lessons from the past, the lives of prophets and holy men are given as invaluable help.

Scripture was written for our instruction. It is both profitable and enjoyable to follow Bernard of Clairvaux pondering the lives of the holy men of old, whose  ardent desire for the Messiah humbled and incited his fervor, while observing that his fellow Christians  delighted more in  festivities than in the Christ Child. In their own day, these towering Old Covenant patriarchs and prophets sustained the faith and hope of the people with difficulty. Themselves mere men, yet chosen by God for a mission,  Moses slow of speech, Jeremiah a mere youth and even the Royal prophet Isaiah, felt unequal at times to their vocation.  Perhaps in Psalms, as Bernard artlessly interprets them, we see the predictions of "Him Who is to come".

The better to strengthen faith and win assent, Bernard asks if the beloved Son of God, dwelling in eternity can adequately represent sinful humanity? Is He a qualified Advocate for our hopeless condition?   Bernard continues:  "Then let him who is God's Son become man, let him become the Son of Man, and fill me with assurance…When I come to recognize that he is truly mine, then I shall feel secure in welcoming the Son of God as mediator…with no shadow of mistrust…for after all, he is my brother and my own flesh. It is impossible that I shall be spurned by him."

So the Divine condescends. God wills to become human from the Root of Jesse, entering into a human family. Jesse is the father of King David, to whom God made another amazing promise: the Messiah would be Son of David! The psalms [many written by David] sing of God's merciful love, espousing our human condition of much pain and some joy! In the Creed we pray: "the Holy Spirit spoke through the Prophets"  one of whom penned  the Song of Song, the ultimate  of sacred poetry describing  God's love for us.

If a mystical poem expresses the sublime, only another such poet and mystic can explain it. For St. Bernard "the sacrosanct kiss is the mystery of the incarnate Word". (Sermo 2 on Song of Song  Ch1 v.1) "Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His mouth."

A kiss supposes a giver and receiver and becomes a reality when bestowed and accepted. The Word of God pressed His lips on the human nature  received from Mary- and that  moment of Incarnation created Jesus Christ, a  fully divine and now  fully human Person -  the kiss of God to us. But those who are united with the Lord must become one Spirit with Him.  We start anew at Bethlehem and walk to the heavenly Jerusalem and await the kiss of peace from Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, the holy glory of God the Father, the heavenly holy and blessed One, Jesus Christ.

We invite you to join us at our Services
December 24th  
Christmas    I Vespers  4:00 PM
Carols  before Liturgy 9:30 PM   *     Midnight Divine Liturgy 10:00 PM
December 25th
Matins 7:00 AM   *  Christmas day Liturgy 10:00 AM   *  II Vespers 4:20 PM

Root of Jesse by Herrod of Landsbery ~ Germany 12th century