CHRIST IS BORN!
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrolment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of good will!
Dear brothers, sisters, friends in Christ, our loyal readers, followers, and writers,
With deep gratitude for your support during the four months since Orthodoxy in Dialogue went to press, we greet each and every one of you in the joy of the birth of Emmanuel, God-With-Us in human flesh, our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One. The earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. The Sun of righteousness, who rises with healing in His wings for our frail and broken humanity—from whom and through whom and to whom are all things, who dwells in the unapproachable light of His divinity which shines unextinguished through the darkness, before whom even the angels in heaven cover their faces because they dare not gaze upon Him, through whom all things are made, who rides on the wings of the wind, who sits enthroned upon the cherubim, whom no man can see and live, whom the heavens cannot contain—this One comes to us not in a great and strong wind, not in an earthquake, not in a fire, but in the still small voice of a newborn human Child cradled helplessly in the arms of His most pure and ever-virgin Mother, dwelling among us full of grace and truth that we might become beholders and partakers of His glory.
Our God comes to us not in strength and power and greatness, but in weakness and smallness, to be welcomed by poor migrant workers and star-worshipping foreigners and animals and angels and a star and a confused but silently trusting foster father, in a world that knew Him not and had no room for Him, that we might become imitators of Him who had no place to lay His head, yet loved the world so much that He came not to condemn it, but to save it and impart to it the uncreated grace of His own eternal and divine life.
In space and time He became everything that we are, that He might make us everything that He is beyond all space and time.
He laid out for us a narrow path to become all that He is: it passes straight through the hungry, the thirsty, strangers and foreigners and refugees, the naked, the sick, prisoners, the lonely, the bullied, the suicidal, the despairing, and every kind of outcast despised in the name of society and morality and religion.
Like His spotless Mother let us keep these unutterable things in our hearts. Like the saints in heaven, so great a cloud of witnesses invisibly surrounding us, let us strive to become not merely hearers of these things, but doers of them.
Your unworthy servants in Christ Jesus, our newborn God before the ages,
Andrea Jarmai and Giacomo Sanfilippo, Editors
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