Feast of the Nativity, 2014
and the wolf shall graze with the lamb, the leopard shall rest with the young goat,
the calf and the bull and the lion shall graze together, and a little child shall lead them.
—Isaiah 11:6, LXX
Beloved in the Lord,
On the occasion of the Nativity of our Lord, we greet you in the name of Jesus Christ, born of a Virgin that we might be saved. The Seed promised to Abraham has taken root, and the Virgin has borne the Child of whom the Prophet Isaiah spoke.
The Prophet describe the leadership of this Child, the Christ, the promised Messiah, as bringing together that which was divided in enmity, healing divisions even to a startling degree: the wolf and lamb, the leopard and goat, the calf and lion. The symbolic image presented is one of healing and peace. Indeed, this Child is the Suffering Servant, and by “his stripes we are healed,” by his sacrifice on the Cross and triumph over death in the Resurrection even the division between God and humanity is revealed to be bridged.
This is the healing and peace that is so evidently needed by our world today. Recent events in the news at home and abroad remind us of the shocking divisiveness and enmity that appears to reign among all God’s children. Whether it be division of race, gender, age, ethnicity or religion, even political affiliation, it appears our society is threatened by a dissolution of our own devising.
And yet the Nativity reminds us, the faithful, that such division and enmity need not be. Moreover, as members of the Body of Christ, we are to make manifest the healing and peace offered by our Savior to all the world, to every nation, every people, every city and every household. The Nativity of our Lord is a call to make Christ Jesus manifest in the world by our words and deeds, by our thought and action: “Blessed are the peacemakers…”
“Christ is born! Glorify Him!” In exalting Him this Christmas, may we all exult in the bonds of love, healing and peace for the world! May the Joy, Grace, and abundant Life who is born of the Virgin be with you all this Christmas!
With Paternal Blessings on the Nativity,
Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago