The redemptive message of the great and joyful Feast of Christmas, which we have been deemed worthy to celebrate again this year, through God’s ineffable love and benevolence, could be summed up in a simple phrase: “God loves you personally.”
John, the Evangelist of love, has told us: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).
Because of God’s great love for each human person “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory …” (Jn 1: 14)
God’s redeeming descent onto earth as a perfect human being is the greatest proof of His personal love for every human being.
This act of divine descent is a great mystery; and a mystery cannot be approached effectively by logic but only through faith. In the prayer service of Christmas Matins, we sing: “This mystery cannot be fathomed, but we all glorify it by faith”. This means that a mystery is not the proper object of scientific research. The mysteries of God cannot be examined in the laboratory, the way that we explore natural phenomena, because God is inaccessible and incomprehensible to finite human logic. In order for human beings to begin to understand God’s mystery, we need faith; that is, we need confidence and trust in God’s Will. For how can human reason comprehend the fact that the sinless God loves the sinner? We cannot possibly understand this great mystery through our logic; it is, rather, something we experience in our hearts and know it internally as the truth, as reality.
Therefore, faith is necessary in order to understand the mystery of God’s love; in order to believe that God loves you more than anyone and anything else; in order to accept that in the eyes of God, you deserve more than the whole world, even more than all His creations.
And as long as God loves you, what more can you want? You have everything! What could possibly be more precious in your life than God’s love for you? Just as a child sleeps in his parent’s bosom with confidence, without anything to worry him, so does the person who believes in God’s personal love; she or he is not anxious or worried about anything. Since you have everything, that is, the love of God for you personally, all other needs and problems are manageable. Since God loves you, then any difficulty, anxiety, pain, and even death that may befall you in life, can be confronted with confidence in His will; for it is not possible for God Who loves you to allow something to happen which is not for your own good, for your own salvation.
The profound faith that God loves you, will enable you love Him in return with divine love. And your love for God, Who loves you, will grow stronger each day, in a manner that is spontaneous and natural.
Finally, the belief that God loves you personally, will also enable you to love spontaneously and naturally every person with whom you come in contact with—seeing him or her as an image of God, an icon of Christ.
When you love God, because “He first loved us” (1 John 4: 19) and you love Him in the person of your neighbor—as Christ Himself “in another form” (Lk. 16:12), then Christ will have been born in you; then your life will be a blessing and a living paradise; then the kingdom of God will dwell within you.
Therefore, let us this Christmas show our love to Christ, “Who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made human.”
Let us this Christmas also pray more fervently to the “Prince of Peace”, Who is Christ, to give everyone the inner peace, which is the prerequisite for political peace, so that the wars that are in progress at present may stop, and so that the cold war in the Korean Peninsula that keeps harassing us may cease to exist.
On behalf of Metropolitan Soterios of Pisidia, our Clergy, our Monks and Nuns, and our co-workers and supporters in the Lord, I pray that, this Christmas, more love for God and for our neighbor is born in all of us.
Always with much love and honor
in the Incarnate Lord,
+ Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea