Bishop THOMAS' Nativity Greeting
The Feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
December 6, 2008
Your Eminence Metropolitan Philip,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
"God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the Fathers by the Prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." (Hebrews 1: 1-4)
Once again the Church is calling us to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. It is through this feast that God, who is transcendent in His very nature, condescended in humility and love and took our flesh so that we may become God by Grace. At His birth participates the whole of creation; nothing is left aside. The Kontakion of this feast, through the inspiring words of Saint Romanos the Melodist, summarizes this mystery in the most amazing manner:
Today the Virgin giveth birth to the Transcendent in essence; the earth offereth the cave to the unapproachable One; the angels with the shepherds glorify Him; and the Magi with the star travel on their way; for a new child hath been born for our sakes, God before the ages.
It is only through Christ that the doors to the Kingdom of God are opened to us. Christ was born to redeem us from our sins and open the doors of His Holy Kingdom again for us. We are no longer outcasts wandering the wastelands, but rather citizens of the most Holy of Kingdoms. The "creation no longer groans and labors with birth pains" (Romans 8:22) because "the fullness of time has come and God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons" (Gal 4:4-5). What we have been given is the greatest of gifts. It is the gift of salvation. This necessitates us living as people in God's family. When people meet us they should know that we are acquainted with Christ and the blessed Saints. Anything less is to fall short of the Glory of God.
It is my sincere prayer that our Lord will grant us all many years of health and happiness, a blessed feast of the Nativity of our Lord to you, and a holy and blessed new year.
Yours in Christ,
Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic