Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Redemption! In this word, which carries the weight of eternity, we encounter the meaning of the great and glorious feast of Christmas. Human beings all over the world hear this hopeful word graciously, as we all—consciously or subconsciously—desire and long for Redemption.
After their fall and exile from Paradise, Adam and Eve longed for Redemption. They longed to return to their previous state of bliss. Since then, and until the Nativity of Christ, people tried in vain to secure their Redemption in a variety of religious and philosophical beliefs. Even after the Nativity of Christ, the same vain search for Redemption goes on to this day by those who seek to find it in drinking, in drugs, in material wealth, in technology, in worldly entertainment, and in sensual pleasures. True Redemption, however, is not a human accomplishment, but a divine one. It is the precious gift that God offers to all people through the birth of His Only-Begotten Son. “He has sent redemption to His people” (Ps 111: 9), as we chant in the Christmas Communion prayer. Therefore, it is “proper and right” to magnify the Theotokos—the Mother of God—because it is she who brought to us the Redeemer. Thus, we chant: “Magnify, O my soul, the Virgin who has delivered us from the original curse.”
The redemption that Christ has brought to humanity and all of creation is neither a theory nor an abstract idea. Instead, it is something very specific that pertains to everyday human life and that carries the tangible effects of true Joy and inner Peace.
Christ became human firstly, in order to redeem us from the source of all-evil, which is sin; secondly, to deliver us from the homicidal devil; thirdly, to redeem us from eternal death, fear, despair, and self-destructiveness.
Redemption on a personal level brings about redemption on a social level. A human society, if it consists of redeemed Christians, does not suffer from wars, violence, terrorism, crimes against human beings or against the natural world, or any form of inhumane behavior.
What our contemporary world needs, more than anything else today, is people who struggle for their personal Redemption, in and through God’s grace, just as the Saints did in their lifetime.
If the acquisition of Redemption becomes our daily care and concern, then the birth of our Redeemer Jesus Christ will not be just a folkloric celebration that lasts one day per year, without having any impact on our life; instead, it will be the unshaken foundation for both our personal and social Redemption.
Therefore, let us all struggle to experience and cultivate within us the redemptive message of our Lord Jesus Christ, and let us strive to spread this life-changing gift to our neighbors near and far.
On behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Soterios of Pisidia, the Clergy, the monastics, and of all our collaborators in the Lord, we wish you a Merry Christmas, filled with the presence of the Redeemer of the world in your hearts.
Always with much love,
and special honor in the Incarnate Lord,
+Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea