Nativity Encyclical 2016
Feast of the Nativity, 2016
Our celebration of the Nativity of our Lord is more than a recollection of the birth of our Savior in Bethlehem of Judea some two-thousand years ago. Our hymns of Christmas make numerous references to “Today…” The reason is simple: while God the Word was born to the Virgin Mary long ago, the Lord Jesus Christ is constantly born anew into the world through us. This is why we sing in the present tense, “Christ is born, glorify Him!”
It is by the birth of Christ today in the world that peace and goodwill is established, and the current events of our nation and throughout the world indicate the profound need for these. We have often noted the violence and terror rampant in the world. Yet we need not look overseas to notice the absence of peace. We see it in the incivility of our public discourse as publicized by the press, or through the hostile negativity and insults expressed on social media. We see it in the suffering of our neighbors in need, and in the anxieties of our own souls.
It may seem that we are incapable of effecting peace on such a national or global scale, but this is untrue. Praying for the salvation of all, even for those with whom we disagree, is the beginning, but not end. Our goodwill extends to every act of kindness, charity and love: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, striving for justice and righteousness everywhere at every moment, even our smile to others. Peace on earth begins today with the goodwill we can express in our interactions with family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, fellow citizens and those strangers we encounter daily. Peace is, indeed, a gift “from above,” for which we pray at all our services, but it is implemented by Christ, in Christ, and through Christ—His Body, the Church, of which we are the members. The Lord grants, through us, “peace and goodwill” to the whole world.
Let us make today a worthy celebration of the birth of Christ Jesus in the world by sharing our goodwill and love, for then our heartfelt prayer for you and all our faithful to enjoy a very, merry Christmas will come true!
With Paternal Blessings,
+Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago